The Parable of the Fallen Young Bird

IMG_0609IMG_0617An old bird advises a young bird not to spend much time hopping from one twig to another twig on an acacia tree by the side of the road that leads to the forest.

“But I want to have a good view of the world around us, the better to enjoy the beauty of it,” the young bird insists.

“Birds are not supposed to be aesthetically minded and enjoy the beauty of their surroundings. Give that job to the painters and the artists and the loafers. You are supposed to find worms to eat,” says the old bird.

“You are a tyrant among birds. You don’t listen to reason.”

“Well, tyrants also have common sense. Remember I am much older. You are young and still need to eat plenty of worms.” It goes without saying that in the world of avian creatures, the number of worms a bird has swallowed in his lifetime is the measure of his wisdom and experience.

Because it is an argument that no one will win, the young bird has decided to abide by the peaceful co-existence policy among avian creatures: You do your thing, I’ll do mine.

It is not known if birds too have adrenalin, but this young bird is so hyperactive he really wants to hop and hop and fly from one twig to another and chirp and chirp to his heart’s content. The morning sun is not yet high up in the sky. But a little boy is up from bed, and wants to try his skill with the new slingshot his father has made for him.

The young bird sees the boy with the slingshot. The tyrant bird has not told him what a slingshot can do. But the young bird thinks he knows what a young boy can do: He can aim but he can miss.

He decides to try him for size. Agility, dexterity, flight speed. The boy can’t fly, but he can. Use that advantage over the enemy. At the end of the day you will have a good story to tell other birds.

One aim from the boy misses. Another aim and he misses again. Another aim and… The young bird feels that his body is going to meet the earth. The stone hits him, it has not hurt him much, but the impact of the hit is enough to send him down spinning.

The boy, not seeing where the young bird falls, goes to another side of the forest.

On the green grass where he has fallen, the young bird waits for the sun to warm his body. He can try flying again.

An old carabao is grazing beside the fallen bird. The sun is up and his stomach is full and he needs to go to the river for a bath. But the call of nature is much more urgent than the call for a bath. The old carabao swings around, as carabaos are wont to do when they defecate. To make the long story short, some of those shits fall on the fallen bird resting on the grass waiting for the sun to warm him up. The carabao moves on.

Well, nobody appreciates being dumped with carabao shit. And so the young bird squeaks and squeaks and tries dragging his body out of the shit.

An eagle is up in the sky. A singgalong, a wild cat, has just gotten out of its dwelling and is feeling hungry. A cobra is passing by and is also hungry. The young bird squeaks for help, but it seems that his call for help has been misunderstood. Both the snake and the wild cat run for cover as the eagle drops low.

And that ends the life of the fallen bird.

Now for the moral of the story:

Always listen for wisdom even if it comes from the mouth of a tyrant. He may be experienced in the field of rights abuse but when it comes to the wisdom of dodging one’s enemy, or not exposing oneself to the enemy, a tyrant knows much. I think that is one reason why some tyrants last long.

Don’t boast about your talents. Remember that pride comes before a fall.

Remember that when you expose yourself, you are much vulnerable. If you expose yourself too much, it is probably because you have a plan to run for mayor, or that you are overconfident. And when you expose yourself, be ready to be criticized, to dodge or to hide.

Don’t belittle the enemy. They can either do small harm, or great. The best way is to put your ears on the ground. Listen for the unspoken. Watch for the unseen.

A lesson on thankfulness. If your enemy does not leave you for dead, be thankful.

You never know which enemy will do you in. If you have many enemies, either the weaker or the stronger will try you for size. Don’t make many enemies. Better still, don’t make enemies at all, if you can avoid it. If you have plenty, practice the art of dodging. And forgiving.

Understand that not everyone who dumps shit on you is your enemy. Sometimes that shit is meant to protect you, or hold your enemies at bay while you are trying to gain strength.

If you are in a shit, don’t make so much noise, because surely your enemy will find you, and you will be exposed for the weaknesses that you have.

Good motives sometimes don’t get along with good wisdom. Possibly one has to give up a project which he thinks is good, unless he is well-equipped to pursue it.

There is always a cure for wounded pride or for mistakes made. When your pride has been wounded, or a mistake has been made, the best way to recover is to retrace your steps, and do it in another way, fully acknowledging your failure. The Bible provides us the knowledge to do it another way.

Some dreams do find themselves in the junkyard. It is all right if you want to weep over your unfulfilled dreams. Tears are also meant for that. But this is a world where realities come right smack onto our face telling us it is enough. And I think you understand what enough means.

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