“THE LITTLE BIRD THAT COULDN’T” > CHAPTER THREE
That night Flapless snuggled up in a pile of leaves that were trapped against a fallen tree. As he stared up into the starry sky he began to question the events of his day. “Did I really hear the wind talking to me? I passed several trees today and never heard the voice even once, not even a peep! What if I’m wrong? Will I find food up in the mountains? Do worms live there? Is the ground too hard and cold?” his thoughts continued in endless chaotic circles of fear and doubt.
“I never knew the wind could speak, even though, like the wind had said, have their not been Prophets who have said it is so? And have we not ignored them because we thought they were imagining things? Have we not laughed at them, just like some have laughed at me?”
“What is a Prophet, anyway?” he considered. “The Book of the Ancient Ways says they are a person who hears the voice of God, and speaks of invisible things of another kingdom. Sometimes they even tell us the future! Wait a minute, if I’m hearing such a voice, does that make me a Prophet? Or possibly a Prophet in training? Could the mountain be my great test?” Flapless was very lost in his thoughts when a voice from above suddenly interrupted!
“Hey, bro! What are you doing down there? You want to get eaten?”
“A voice!” Flapless shouted to himself, but then he thought, “Hey, bro? What kind of voice is that?” So as he looked in the direction of the voice, he spotted a small bird, a very small bird, much smaller than he, for it was a wren, and the little bird was perched on a limb above him.
“Oh! Hi, up there! I did not know you was there.”
“Yeah, I get missed a lot, but are you planning on sleeping down there?” the little wren asked.
“Yes. I have no choice. You see, it’s kind of a long story, but my wings do not work and I cannot fly. My name says it all, they call me, Flapless.”
“Flapless,” the wren repeated, “OH, I get it! So sorry for your condition, but since I am perching here tonight, I will try to keep an eye open for danger, and I can give you warning.”
“That is very kind of you, little wren. And what is your name?”
“My name is, Goliath, because I don’t like thinking small. I drove my parents so crazy with my wild ideas that they just started calling me, Goliath, you know, the giant?”
“Yes, I know of whom you speak. It is one of the stories in the Book of Ancient Ways. The same book that speaks of Prophets and hearing voices in the wind.”
“Yes, the same book,” the wren agreed.
Flapless noticed that Goliath seemed to be studying him closely, before finally asking, “Are you a starling, or a raven?”
“I’m a raven,” he answered.
“Hmmm,” the little wren sounded.
“I’ve heard that before,” Flapless thought.
“You know, I’m a bit of a student of the Ancient Book, and it is unfortunate that your kind has gotten such a bad rap in our times.”
“What do you mean?” Flapless asked.
“You know. All that stuff about witches and sorcery.”
“Oh, yeah, all that. I’ve never even seen a witch. I probably wouldn’t know one if I saw one.”
“If people studied the Ancient Book more, they would know how silly it all is. Just because ravens are listed as one of the unclean birds, I mean, aren’t we all? That is what salvation is about, right? And people seem to forget that our mighty eagle brother is listed as an unclean bird, too.”
“Actually, you ravens have a pretty good record in the Good Book of Ancient Ways. Noah sent one of your forefathers out of the ark first, because you are a stronger bird. The dove couldn’t handle the hardship. But your forefather bravely went forth, and stayed out much sooner than the dove.”
“Also, God chose another one of your forefathers to feed a very special man named, Elijah. And they faithfully took care of Elijah for as long as possible. And Jesus even used the raven when he spoke of taking no thought for your life, and what you will eat or wear, but seek first the kingdom of God.”
“Wow, you really do know the Ancient Book of God’s Word! Can I share with you the details of my journey? Perhaps you can help me have a better understanding, because earlier today I heard a voice in the wind, and that is how I ended up on the road to the mountains, for I was going to take the other path.”
“A voice in the Wind? Oh my. Yes, this will be very interesting. Please tell me all!”
“Well, starting from the beginning, I left home because I did not fit in, and I decided to go on a great quest in search of answers.” And so Flapless began to share every detail of his story with his new friend, Goliath.
The crickets chirped in the background as he described his great torment of having wings that do not work, and all his fellow birds who had hurt him with insulting names. He told of the owl who who who could not help him, and his many weeks of walking, walking, and walking. Until he finally had his encounter with “the Voice”, which he thought was the tree talking and he had gone crazy. But thank goodness it had turned out to be the wind speaking to him as it blew through the leaves of the tree. Then there was the turtle and his advice to listen to the wind and take the road to the mountains. Now here he was.
“I think I saw your turtle friend on the way here,” the wren said. “He was camped at a rock by a big tree.”
“Yes, that would be the one, but surely he was not right by the tree?”
“Well, it was a few feet away,” Goliath confirmed.
“Yes, that would be him. He is old and only has three legs.”
“Three legs?” Goliath repeated. “You know, I have seen something called a wheel. Some one should attach a wheel where his missing leg is, and it would probably help him a lot.”
“A wheel?” Flapless thought. “You really do think outside the box, don’t you.”
“Oh, yes, I guess I just did it again, didn’t I. Birds are not supposed to think of things like that.”
Goliath’s last statement was followed by a few minutes of silence, as both were lost in their own thoughts. The crickets never stopped chirping, and the stars never stopped shining as the two kept each other company. But finally, Goliath began to talk again.
“So the Wind spoke to you, huh. That is not a small thing, Flapless. And he said your condition is a great blessing?”
“Yes, but I’m afraid I don’t agree with that part. It has brought me a lot of pain and sadness. I have left my home. I have no friends. No place to lay my head. And I weary of all this walking. Now it is about to get even harder as I begin hiking up the side of this great mountain. I am afraid I might give out. What if I do not have the heart to make this great journey?”
“Hmmm, but you are a raven,” the little wren pointed out, and then added, “A bird for hard times. A bird that was first to leave the ark into the new world, and the bird that fed a Prophet during a time of famine and drought. Perhaps the Wind knows that you do have the heart?”
“He said he was All-Knowing,” Flapless added as he considered the little wrens words.
“Yes. That would seem to agree with the Book of Ancient Ways, but I never thought about it before. If this is true, then why do I fight the Wind?” Goliath asked out loud.
“What do you mean?” Flapless asked.
“Well, my wings work, and I use them for a few things. One, to get off the ground. Two, if I am flying with the Wind, I use them to go faster. Three, I use them if I decide to go ‘against’ the Wind, or in any way ‘counter’ to it. But I am beginning to ask myself, if the Wind is All-Knowing, why would I want to go faster than the Wind carries me, or counter to it in any way?”
“Hmmm,” Flapless found himself saying. “I think I see what you mean.” Then he considered that he could not believe he had just said, “Hmmm.”