Bird Kingdom, a tale.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Bravery, loyalty and drama mix in this tale of individual and collective growth. "Bird Kingdom" is an attempt to recreate the inner emotions of the author who is convinced that something has been taken from him but he will eventually return to it if he never turns away from virtue.

Bird Kingdom

 

Is there a creature in the world nobler than the bird? The mother bends a nest for its little ones; it carries in its small peak the twigs and leafs for its construction. It senses when they will come and hurries to finish its nest. When they are born it feeds them in their mouths, chewing their food with its toothless peak.

Some will even give from their own flesh to satisfy the hunger of their children. Like the hawk the noblest of birds… When its posterity comes to the world and is hungry- meet is the only dough that satisfies it. So the mother, I’ave heard, can tear pieces of its own flesh to feed its brood.

When two birds are bonded together they will never sever. When one is killed or falls ill, the other refuses to live. Birds die in agony, terrible agony. Their necks break from the convulsions of life fighting to stay within them. They find a place to die and go silently. The life of a bird is like a beautiful tale.

?

 It was spring and in the southern parts of Their kingdom life was thriving. Their songs filled the whole forest. The black pines were once more generous to them. The sun shining in their branches released the earth from the shadows. The forest now seemed wide and long, luminous and airy, full of the sweet music of the birds and the scents of spring. All trees had their own courts and markets at the bottom of their trunks where critters of all sort scurried and mingled with dozens. And in the higher branches sat the noble birds and that was Their kingdom.

 Generation after generation the noble birds abided their kingdoms, fulfilling the sacred oath their ancestors gave to the Sun.

  Long…long ago there were no birds in the world. There was only the Sun. Day and night it burned and burned- a scourge for the desolate earth. Only dry winds- ancient travelers covered in tatters and long shawls, roamed over its empty plains.

But in the dark chasms of the mountains, in caves and narrow fissures in the rock, lived other creatures. Ugly, black, with long ears and fur instead of plumage, with black eyes protruding from their peakless heads, wings like the hands of the toads, bony and terrible. Their voices were hoarse and shrewd and their songs- ugly screeches. These gaunt and misshapen creatures were the first birds.

For a long time they did not dare leave their caves. They lived in absolute darkness and their eyes didn't’t know light. But one day they went to the sun and told it: “Spring of life, lord of light, we ask thee, why art thou so angry?” And the sun answered: “I am angry because I am alone. There is no one in the skies but me. In all this blue expanse I stand alone, spring of all life and wielder of light.” And the first birds said: “Oh, wielder of light, spring of life. We shall make ourselves useful. Let us leave our dens, oh Sun, and we shalt serve thee nobly.” And the Sun said: “Oh, birds. I am the bearer of life and light and the sole majordomo of the earth, but I will always be alone. I cannot let you out into the world. But I love you birds, even though you are still ugly, you have hearts that are noble.” And the birds thought and said: “Bearer of life and light, sole majordomo of the world let us out onto the world. Let us build our kingdoms on thy land. Let us share the world half the year with thee and let the other half be solely thine.” So the sun thought and thought. It was so selfish it didn’t want the birds to have all its lands, but it was alone too and wanted servants for its kingdom. Many years after the first birds returned to their caves the sun called them again. “I have thought a lot, noble ones. Let it be as you have said. Live with me in the seasons of spring and summer and in winter and autumn return to your caves.”

They lived so for a while. The first birds made kingdoms on the land. Big nests made of mud and twigs where they lived in the spring and summer. But other creatures were settling in them when they were away in the seasons of winter and autumn and that displeased the birds.

Life outside was precious to them. In the seasons of spring and summer they married their young ones. They collected grain and riches which they took to their caves in the autumn. They got used to the light and learned to cherish it, for in their dark and cool caves there was none.

For a while the birds lived on the land with other creatures that had come out of their burrows and dens. The forests and plains were quickly filled with life. The Sun was satisfied too. He was not alone anymore. The birds often flew to him with gifts and blessings, though they were still very ugly and misshapen.

And when the birds learned to make nests and live in the high branches of the trees, like earls of the world, servants of the great majordomo- the bearer of life and light, the Sun was happy and kind.

But not many years passed when the winds, who for long had been the only wanderers of the world, grew jealous. They had been forgotten when all creatures had been granted a piece of the earth. They were still wandering the deserts and steppes, covered in their shawls of dust, angry and vengeful. And they waited and waited until one day the terrible Northern wind gathered them all.

All monsoons, breezes and cyclones, rain and snow winds from all parts of the world gathered in one place. And he stood before them- the Northerner, most terrible of all, and said: “Brothers! The sun has betrayed us. We were his only servants in the days of his great anger, and how did he repay us? With oblivion! His tyranny must end! Onward to revenge my brothers! Against the sun! Onward!” And so the winds raged a terrible war against the Sun. Many were killed and their ethereal bodies were destroyed, but many survived and defeated the Sun. Then they banished him to wander- half of the year in the southern and half in the northern parts of the world.

Before he left, the Sun gathered all the birds and told them: “You have served me well my children. You are still very misshapen and ugly but I am thankful to you. With your noble hearts, you have taught me to love. I relieve you from your service now. Go to the winds if you wish. They will be generous to you. Farewell.” And the Sun was leaving full of bitterness and sorrow when one of the birds flew to him. It was one of those that had first asked the Sun to settle on his lands, very old and wise now. “Spring of life, wielder of light, we shall come with thee. We promised thee long ago to serve thee forever and we have not forgotten our oath.” Then it turned to the rest of the birds and said. “Come birds after me. Our master calls us now.” And so from that year on every summer and a part of the autumn the birds lived with the Sun in the north, while in the south they lived with him in the season of winter and a part of spring. The winds who had offered their generosity to the birds damned them too.

The birds followed the Sun and their kingdom spread to every corner of the earth. In every continent they made a settling and in the islands of the ocean and in the frozen realms of the northern and southern poles and in the jungles of the Equator. Some of the smaller birds, who were not as strong as the others, decided to stay instead of following the Sun, but they were not spared by the winds and every winter and autumn they were blown by them and tortured with by their rains and snows.

Those that didn’t leave the sun were rewarded. Their misshapen bodies began to heal and their ugly voices acquired a melody. Every time the birds followed the sun, their bodies healed and their voices bettered. Finally they became very beautiful and their songs were seldom hoarse again.

It was spring and the birds were in the southern parts of Their kingdom. The pine forest was alive. Nervous preparations were taking place. The young ones were playing in the sky, while the haggard birds of old age marveled lovingly at their beautiful offspring. It was a time of great contrast and beauty.

Life was burning-manifesting itself in all the whiffs of the wind, in all the rippling gums on the barks of the trees, in all the rippling streams that ran under the carpet of pine needles, berries and rosehips, and aglets.

The old birds were going, silently, alone or with their companion, hidden in the rosehips or under the trees, life was moving, full-blooded life, clear from insipidness.

The tired old birds who had sung their song were dying. But there, above them, in the blue sky playing with the Sun were their children and grandchildren, who would live on. For it was spring and a season of mating.

The young birds of the two sexes played together and innocent songs of courtship filled the air. There was no crudeness in their ritual, only purity. Then the females gathered in a circle, around the males, who played a dance together, looking at their beloved. When their dance was complete the pairs were formed, each future mother chose her companion. From forgotten times this was the rite in the kingdom of the birds.

Then when the male bird was chosen he had to bring 14 twigs and 7 berries to his chooser. This was their matrimonial pact. The twigs bonded them and the berries symbolized a healthy offspring. Then each pair found a nest and fixed it as it pleased with mud and twigs and from then on they were alone without the guidance of the old ones. The Sun blessed all marriages. He stood in the sky, majestic and proud. He was happy for the birds in their vast kingdom.

It was in the month of May when seven birds were draining water from a stream in the forest that they first heard the terrible echo of the winds. That night all the birds gathered in the sky and in the seat of the moon came the Sun, called from his chambers. The night became day, a crimson, sullen day, the sun was not content to be woken by the birds. There was great distress in the lines of the birds, everyone was afraid of the winds. The Sun was told what the seven birds had witnessed. He told the birds to go home and returned to his chambers leaving a trail of crimson in the sky. Some birds lost hope and believed the Sun had betrayed them. But he had not- he was thinking.

He thought for a long time while the winds hummed nearer. Their evil hiss now sounded day and night. The birds were terrified and didn’t know what to do. Time was approaching to set for the north. Then the Sun came out and said: “My noble children, my faithful servants. I have thought at length. We must leave promptly to the north where the winds will not torment us. We are no match for them here or anywhere else.” Some birds were unhappy.” But they will destroy Our kingdom and kill many of us in the flight.” They said. The sun shook his head.”There is no other way my children.” He said bitterly.

So they set for the north but when they came there the winds were waiting. The Northern wind, that most terrible of all, came before the birds and said in his bellowing voice: “We …once offered you ….kindness, but you….chose to serve ….Him instead. Now Your kingdoms shall perish and you will be scattered around the earth in countless numbers. This is the wrath of the winds!” Then Their kingdoms were destroyed.

The birds fled to a tall mountain where they counseled with the Sun. That day the Sun spoke thus: “Dear birds, the winds have taken the kingdom. Your brothers have separated. There is nothing to be done. I relieve you now from your service and give you my final blessing. This is the end of our journey, my friends. Be free. Be free and live as your heart desires.

But only know this. No matter where you are, no matter in what strive, remember me. Remember the light that comes from me and love me, and love my light. And one day my children, I promise you, if you never cease to search, your kingdom shall be restored to you.” Thus the Sun spoke and sent the birds a blessing. Then it returned to sky and never came down again.

The birds had lost their way and were cursed to wander. Their kingdom was destroyed. Only the songs, the noble rituals and traditions of the old days were left, some in pure from, others amended in time. They were the only thing that survived from the once Great Kingdom of the birds.

The birds wandered without a path. But they all remembered the promise of the Sun and often looked for him in the sky. And the winds blew and blew, torturing the poor birds with rain and snow, but still they flew, and high they rose, praising the light of the Sun… Waiting for Their kingdom to return.
 

The end.


Submitted: December 08, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Stehpen Birdshire . All rights reserved.

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