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How the Bird Got It's Flight
Long ago, before men were created, all of the animals roamed the plains of Africa. One animal in particular could run faster than anything else on earth. He could race the wind and beat it every time. This creature was the bird. Bird did not have wings like he does today; instead, he had two short arms that pumped like pistons. Bird’s legs weren’t scrawny like they are now; they were as large as a small tree trunk. These powerful legs made bird the fastest animal on earth. They also made him very proud.
Bird would run past Hyena and yell, “Can’t catch me! Can’t catch me!”
Hyena would say, “Bah!” and think to himself of how he could catch Bird
Bird would run past Lion and Cheetah and yell, “Can’t catch me! Can’t catch me!”
Lion and cheetah would say, “Bah!” and think to themselves of how they could catch Bird.
One day, Bird ran past Lion and yelled, “Can’t catch me, can’t catch me!”
“That is enough!” Lion roared. Something must be done about that bird! So Lion gathered together all of the animals near the watering hole. “My brothers and sisters,” Lion said, “Our brother the Bird has been bragging about his speed. He has become very proud. What should we do about this problem?” All of the animals whispered to each other for a few minutes until a minute voice piped up. “We should go speak to the Creator,” the tiny voice squeaked.
“Who said that?” Lion questioned.
“I did,” retorted Field Mouse as she came out from behind hippo’s leg.
“Going to see the Creator is a wonderful idea my small sister!” Lion exclaimed. All of the animals went to go see the Creator who sat on a throne on top of a large mountain looking over the whole world. Once the animals got there, they addressed their problem. “Oh, Creator,” Lion said bowing low, “One of the animals that you have made has become proud.”
“Is this so?” the Creator asked kindly.
“Yes, Bird will not stop bragging about how fast that he can run,” explained Field Mouse.
“Yes, I have seen Bird run past all of the animals and yell to them. What is it that bird yells as he runs by?” the Creator questioned.
“Bird yells, ‘Can’t catch me! Can’t catch me!’ as he runs by snorted Hyena.
“I see,” said the wise Creator. “I will have to fix this bird’s attitude,” he said as he stood up from his large throne and walked down the mountain. The animals all went back to their homes, knowing that the Creator would handle the problem. The Creator walked down to a field that looked like a sea of grass. He knew that Bird would run by very soon and planned to talk to him suddenly, he saw a vague outline of a creature going at an incredible speed, racing toward him. The Creator stood in the middle of the path in order to block Bird’s way. Bird screeched to a halt when he saw the creator standing in the middle of the path. He looked up at the creator with large eyes.
The creator looked down at bird and asked, “Why are you bragging, Bird? Your brothers and sisters tell me that you brag by saying, ‘Can’t catch me! Can’t catch me!’ when you run by.” Bird’s eyes nervously darted from side to side.
“What I say is true,” Bird finally said. “Do you want me to not tell the truth?” he questioned.
“No, no I want you to tell the truth, but I don’t want you to brag. Remember, it was I who gave you the ability to run faster than the wind. I can take your gift away just as easily,” the Creator said warningly. Bird stood up as tall as he could and puffed out his chest feathers.
“You would have to catch me first,” Bird said boldly. At this, the Creator grew angry.
“Then tomorrow at sunrise,” He said through clenched teeth, “We will have a race. We will start at the very top of Africa, and run all the way to the bottom. I will give you a three hour head start. I will be trying to catch you before you reach the bottom of Africa. If you win, you will have my permission to brag night and day for as long as you live. But if I win, I will take away your amazing speed.”
Bird pondered this deal for a moment before saying, “Yes, I will run this race tomorrow morning.”
The next morning just at sunrise, Bird took off running from the very top of Africa. In a few minutes, he had disappeared over the horizon. The animals became quite uneasy. What if the Creator was not able to catch Bird? Would they be able to stand Bird’s constant bragging? The animals nervously paced around as they waited for the Creator to start running. At last the three hours had passed and the Creator took off running at the speed of light. The animals stared open mouthed as the Creator disappeared within a few seconds. Then they smiled at each other, knowing who was going to win the race.
Bird could see the bottom tip of Africa as he continued to run the race. He congratulated himself for being so fast. He looked behind himself in order to see the trail that he had left behind. What he saw behind him was not only his trail, but the Creator, getting closer and closer with each step. An alarmed bird started to run faster than he had ever run before. He could see the very tip of Africa very clearly now. He was getting nearer with each stride he took. He turned around and saw the creator who was now hot on his tail. He ran yet faster than he had been going before. He could now see the ocean from where he was. He turned around and was face to face with the Creator! A frightened Bird had only enough time to shout before he felt the Creator touch his legs. Bird’s legs suddenly started to shrink. He tried to continue running, but his legs would not stretch out like they once had. His legs had soon shrunk so much that all he could do was hop around. When Bird finally stopped running, he sat down and started to cry. The animals that were waiting at the end of the race gathered around Bird and the creator to see what had happened. The Creator looked down at Bird and said, “Why are you crying, Bird? Did you not agree to this race?”
“Yes, I did agree to this race,” Bird said as he wiped the tears from his eyes. “I did not think that you would be able to catch me, nobody has ever been able to catch me before. Now any one of my brothers or sisters who wishes to catch me will be able to, and I will have no defense! Why, oh, why did I brag?” Bird wailed.
The Creator took pity on bird and gently asked, “Have you learned a lesson about bragging and being prideful?”
“Yes, I have. I have learned that I should not brag about what I can do, but I should be humble and be thankful for what I have,” Bird responded.
“Very well then,” the Creator began, “since you have learned your lesson, I will give you a different gift than the one that you had before.”
Bird lifted up his head and looked the Creator in the eye, “What kind of gift is it?” he asked.
“The gift of flight,” the Creator said as he touched Bird’s arms. Bird’s arms suddenly began to grow long and to sprout feathers. When Bird’s new wings were finished growing, the Creator picked up Bird and gently tossed him into the air. The animals gasped in amazement as they saw bird circling in the air above their heads. The Creator held out his finger and Bird landed on it. “Will you ever brag again?” the Creator asked.
“I will never brag again, Sir, and thank you very much for my new gift.” Bird replied humbly. To this day you will not hear Bird and his offspring bragging about their ability to fly, but you will hear them singing in the trees, for they are thanking the Creator for their gift of flight.