Posted by jlubans on June 05, 2020


THE Birds met together one day to try which could fly highest.
Some flew up very swiftly, but soon got tired and were passed by others of stronger wing.
But the Eagle went up beyond them all, and was ready to claim victory, when a grey Linnet, a very small bird, flew from the Eagle's back where it had perched unperceived, and being fresh and unexhausted succeeded in going highest.
When the Birds came down and met in council to award the prize, it was given to the Eagle because that Bird had not only gone up nearer to the sun than any of the other Birds, but had carried the Linnet on its back.

While the stow-away Linnet
flew the highest, the Birds award first prize to the Eagle, the second place finisher.
This wisdom from a usually flighty bunch is extraordinary.
This is a just and fair recognition of the Eagle’s achievement; the judges declined to award the laurel to someone covertly along for the ride.
Another fable: “What a Dust do I raise! says the Fly upon the Coach-Wheel and what a rate do I drive at, says the same Fly again upon the Horse's Buttock?”
We have a human version of the Linnet, the infamous Rosie Ruiz.
She won the 1980 Boston Marathon, but was forced to relinquish the win because she had not run the full marathon, joining the race only for the last few miles.
Had she read this Native American fable, she might have reconsidered the deception.

*Source: American Indian Fables, excerpted in Cooper, Frederic Taber, 1864-1937. “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land.”
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NEXT UP: Tom Sawyer's Fence.
© Copyright John Lubans 2020

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