How The Ostrich Lost His Wings
Once upon a time in a far away land lived Ostrich. He was a curious fellow, a big powerful bird who loved to play tricks on others – dive-bombing them, pooping on them and being an all together nuisance.
Kitsune had been the brunt of a few of his tricks and was fuming in her den not far from Owl’s tree. Owl also had had to cope with Ostrich.
“Whooo … Kitsune, what’s bothering you today?” said the Owl
“That fat oversized chicken has to be stopped!” shouted Kitsune. “He’s a menace to all who live in these woods. Today I was walking down the lane minding my own business, when down he swooped and pooped on me!”
“Oh my, it must have been awful to be covered in offal!” Said the Owl. “Last week, I was chasing a mouse when the louse dropped some nuts on my head … I’m surprised I’m not dead!”
They exchanged tales and confabulated and raged then finally decided to go and consult with the wise old Man of the Mountain.
After listening to their tale, he meditated for a while.
“This is not the first time I’ve heard these stories about Ostrich. I think it’s time that he learns a lesson he’ll never forget.” said the wise old Man of the Mountain. And he told them what to do.
Kitsune and Owl went to Ostrich’s house right away, holding a gift wrapped pouch of herbs the Man in the Mountain had given them for him.
“Hello Ostrich … I’ve brought you a peace-offering and thought we might have a cup of tea together.” Said Kitsune when she saw him basking in the sun, his great wings sprawled open the gather all the warmth he could get at that early hour of the morning.
Owl intoned: “What lovely shiny wings you’ve got dear Ostrich. So many beautiful shades of blue and white … so suitable for flight!”
Ostrich knew that they were both pretty angry with him and so was on the defensive … “Hey listen guys, I know you’re mad at me, but I was just having a little fun the other day. No offense meant.”
“And no offense taken!” both Owl and Kitsune replied.
So Kitsune put on a pot of water and began to prepare some tea … Owl did a little dance to entertain Ostrich (or so Ostrich thought, but it was part of the enchantment they’d been given by the Man of the Mountain).
Once the tea was ready, Ostrich drank avidly, not noticing that neither Owl of Kitsune drank a drop of theirs.
He instantly fell into a deep dreamless sleep.
Kitsune pulled out of the pouch Ostrich had accepted and opened a pair of golden scissors and clipped the brilliant blue feathers off of Ostrich’s wings, leaving only soft stubby white feathers.
When he woke up he stretched and yawned and thought he’d go play some more tricks on Kitsune and Owl since they’d been such good sports, when to his horror he discovered that his wings were now just stubby white little things, quite useless for flight!
He whined and he howled at the perfidy of the two and soon grew into a faint-hearted bird who would run away at the first sound of danger, whether real or not hiding his head in the sand (so people say) so as not to see what was going on around him.
That my lovely lad is why even today, Ostrich’s children all have short stubby white wings, can’t fly and hide their head in the sand (or so people say) when danger is at hand.
The moral of the story is this … you can be as big and powerful as you like but if you are cruel to others, they’ll eventually find a way to clip your wings. Off to bed now!
Written for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie