In honor of today’s National Tell a Story Day for Scotland and the UK we give you the story of the eagle and the chicken.
At the edge of the woods, near a small farm, a baby eagle fell out of the nest. The farmer found the eagle, and thinking it was one of his own, brought him to the chicken coop with his other chickens. As time passed, the baby eagle grew up learning to do what chickens do. He clucked, he strutted around the coop pecking at the corn and even tried his voice at the morning wake-up call.
A neighbor came to visit his friend the chicken farmer. He was surprised to see the eagle strutting around the chicken coop, pecking at the ground, and acting like a chicken. The farmer explained to him that he had brought the bird to the coop as a chick and only later discovered that it was an eagle. He further told his friend that since the bird had been raised a chicken that the bird actually believed himself to be a chicken.
The neighbor knew there was more to this noble bird than his behavior showed as a chicken. He was born an eagle and had the heart of an eagle, and nothing could change that. The neighbor reached down and lifted the eagle onto the fence surrounding the chicken coop and said, “Eagle, you are an eagle. Stretch your wings and fly.” The eagle only look blankly at the man and clucked. He jumped off the fence and continued doing what chicken do. The farmer was satisfied. “I told you – he thinks he’s a chicken,” he said.
The neighbor couldn’t sleep that night and returned the next day to convince the farmer that the eagle was born for something greater. The man took the eagle from the dirty coop and carried him to the top of the farmhouse. Setting the bird down on the roof, the neighbor spoke to him: “Eagle, you are an eagle. You therefore belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch your wings and fly.” The large bird blinked at the man, clucked, and then jumped down into the chicken coop.
After another restless night, the friend returned the next morning to the chicken farm and took the eagle and the farmer away from the chicken coop to the foot of a high mountain. They could not see the farm nor the chicken coop from this great height. The man lifted the eagle on his outstretched arm and pointed high into the sky where the bright sun was beckoning above. He spoke: “Eagle, you are an eagle! You therefore belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch your wings and fly.” This time the eagle stared skyward into the bright sun, straightened his large body, and stretched his massive wings. His wings moved, slowly at first, then surely and powerfully.
With the mighty screech of an eagle, he flew away.