Tuesday, 26 November 2013

How the Wren became the King of all birds in Ireland.

But which bird is the king of all the birds?  Well here in Ireland we have a special little bird that has a story all of its own. The story is called:

How the Wren became the King of all birds in Ireland.

Once upon a time, somewhere in the west of Ireland there was a secret valley it was full of trees and close to the sea.  Among the animals of Ireland it was known as the Valley of the Birds because it was there that all the birds in Ireland would meet at certain times of the year to discuss matters of importance and to sort out any problems they may have had.

At one of these meetings the trees were covered with birds of all kinds.  There were little birds like the robin red breast and the tiny wren.  There were medium sized birds like the chicken and the crow and there were big birds like the sea gull and the golden eagle with his sharp claws and fierce eyes.

The golden eagle said,

“I have been watching the humans and I saw that they have a king.  I think we should have our own king”

However, which bird should it be and how do they choose a King.  The birds discussed the matter all day and late into the night.

The robin said,

“I should be King for the robin did a great favour for the Queen of the faeries and as a reward she gave us this fine red waistcoat to wear so all other birds could see how brave and loyal the robin is”

“Excuse me” said the wren in a tiny little voice that none of the other birds could hear because of all the twittering and screeching that was going on.

The crow said,

“Caw’m off it, I should be king of the birds for the crow has followed the human and knows their ways.  I also have the most beautiful black feathers, Caw Caw”

“Excuse me” said the wren.

The chicken said,

“Bu bu bu but I should be king for I lay eggs that the humans have for breakfast.  I live on their farms so I also know their ways and I have the most beautiful feathers of many different colours.  Everyone loves me, so I should be king”

“Excuse me” said the wren.

The sea gull said,

“I guide the humans when they go to sea; I show them where they can catch fish and warn them of bad weather, they trust me.  I should be king”

“Excuse me” said the wren,

The golden eagle said,

“I am bigger and fiercer than any of you.  I can see further and am stronger and braver, I can fly higher so I am your rightful king, you must choose me”

“Excuse me” said the wren.

The owl sat a little way off in the branches of a tree.  He said nothing but all the birds knew he was the wisest of all birds.

“Let us ask the owl to choose our king” cried the birds.

The owl agreed and chose two swans to help him decide and to act as referees.  They also made the rules and made sure all the other birds in the competition obeyed them. No pushing, no scratching, that sort of thing.

The owl then said,

“We have decided that as we are creatures of the air the bird that flies the highest should be our king”.

The wren said in a tiny little voice,

“Yes, yes, the bird that flies the highest should be king”

The owl looked at the wren, put his head to one side and said,

“Whooo Whoooo asked youuuuu”

The wren thought to himself,

“The owl thinks he is the wisest of all birds but I’m wiser than he is and I already know which bird will fly highest”.

The owl said,

“Now youuuu all know the rules, they are very are simple, whoooooever flies the highest will be crowned king of all the birds in Ireland.  Anyone found cheating will be immediately disqualified. Are there any questions”?

The Eagle stretched out his wings, looked at the owl and said,

“Just one, where’s my crown”?

“What do you mean” squawked the magpie.  “We haven’t had the competition yet, how do you know you are going to win”?

“Of course I’ll win” said the eagle “I am the best bird in all of Ireland”

“Well there is more to being king than being big and strong, to be a good ruler you should be wise, kind and sensitive to others” said the magpie.

“Shut yer face” said the eagle, “I’m going to win so there”.

The owl turned to all the other birds and said,

“Are youuuu all ready, flap your wings, ready, steady, GO”

They all took off in a cloud of feathers.  They flew high above the earth, but one by one they grew tired and had to come back down to their homes.  The owl and the swans watched and each thought they knew who would win, but they said nothing.  The golden eagle beat his powerful wings and rose higher and higher.  After a while he looked back and saw all the other birds far below him.

“This is easy, they’ll never catch me, and I’m going to be crowned King of all the birds in Ireland” he thought,

Very pleased with himself he went higher and higher until he could go no further,

“I’ve won; I’m the true king of all the birds in Ireland”

He began to get ready to glide back down to earth.  Just then he felt something moving in the feathers on his back and he heard a tiny little voice say,

“Excuse me and thank you”

The golden eagle looked over his shoulder and can you guess what he saw? Yes it was the tiny little wren.  The wren jumped off his back, up into the air and flapped his wings.  He flew high above the eagle.  The eagle was angry and tried to flap his wings again but by now he was too tired.

“Come back, come back, that’s not fair, I’m the king of the birds” screeched the eagle.

But the wren flew higher and higher.  The eagle glided back down to earth and screeched in an angry voice,

“That’s not fair, tell the wren that he has cheated and it is not allowed”

The wise old owl listened to the eagle, smiled and looked up to the tiny spot high above in the sky.  The wren was coming back down to earth.  The owl whispered to the two swans.

“Well” demanded the eagle.

“We have made our decision” said the owl to all the birds,

“Being a king means not only being big and strong and powerful.  It also means being clever, thinking ahead and planning.  The wren did not cheat he simply outwitted you.  For this reason we have decided that the wren will be king of all birds”.

That is the story of how the tiny wren became the king of all birds and he has been the king of all birds in Ireland ever since As for the eagle, well he decided he wanted nothing more to do with things and went to live on a mountain top and that is where eagles live to this day.

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