Omir the Storyteller

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Strength Through Unity


Once upon a time a flock of birds was flying south for the winter. They had gotten a late start, and many other flocks had gone before them; and those earlier flocks had eaten all the food that was easily had. The birds flew on, getting hungrier by the minute.

Suddenly one of the youngest of the doves called out to the leader. "Look! Down there!" he shouted. "I see some seeds. Suppertime!" Something didn't look right to the old dove king, but at that moment he had no choice. His hunger and his concern for the flock outweighed the caution he might normally have displayed, and he directed the flock down toward the cache of seeds.

The doves landed and began to wolf down the seeds, so to speak, but suddenly they heard a rustling noise and saw a net descending on them. They tried to fly, but it was too late! They were trapped! They fluttered and flapped and flapped and fluttered, but all to no avail.

As the dove king struggled in vain, he saw a hunter approach the flock with a club in his hand. Quickly, he formulated a plan. "Everyone, work together!" he shouted. "We must all fly together, or we are done for! One -- two -- "

. . . And as the hunter watched in astonishment, the net, birds and all, rose from the ground.

"Great!" one of the doves said. "Well cone! . . . Uh, what now?"

"Don't worry," the king replied. "I have a plan, but we shall all have to execute it together, no matter how absurd it sounds. Now everyone -- fly to the NORTH!"

Under normal circumstances you might as well try to get a human to pass up a plate of Mom's fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies as to try to get birds to fly north in the winter. But these birds had grasped the gravity of the situation, as it were, and had figured out that they had to work together or they were all going to die, trapped in the net. At length they came to a field where the dove king ordered them to set down.

Once they were safely on the ground the dove king cooed a loud call. Not long after that a mouse appeared from a hole in the ground. The doves could tell by his bearing that he was a very important mouse indeed, and the dove king introduced them to his friend the King of the Mice. "His Highness and I are old friends," the dove king said, "and we've helped each other out of some scrapes before.

"Hang on there, old friend," the mouse king said, "I'll have you out of there in no time."

"Don't worry about me!" the old king said. "See to my subjects first." The mouse king, being very wise for a mouse, recognized the wisdom in this, and called for some of his subjects to help him gnaw through the netting.

It wasn't long before the mice had freed all of the doves and, with the help of a sharp-eyed owl who was more interested in rabbits than seeds, they located enough food -- well away from any snares -- to continue on their journey, united in their strength.


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