King Solomon and The Birds – Part 3

African Hoopoe (Upupa africana) ©WikiC

African Hoopoe (Upupa africana) ©WikiC

King Solomon and The Birds ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

KING SOLOMON AND THE BIRDS  – Part 3

Cur Book of Birds letter-kING SOLOMON was ever seeking to grow even wiser. The better to know the wonders of God’s world and the ways of all creatures, he undertook many journeys,—not as we ordinary poor mortals travel, in heavy wagons or clumsy boats, by dusty roads or stormy waves. It was in no such troublous ways that Solomon the all-powerful traversed space and reached the uttermost corners of the earth. Thanks to his great knowledge, he had discovered a means of locomotion compared to which the most magnificent railway coaches and the richest palanquins of Indian princes would seem poor indeed. He had caused his Genii to make a silken carpet of four leagues in extent. In the midst of this carpet was placed a magnificent throne for the royal traveler himself; and around it were seats of gold, of silver, of wood, for the multitude of persons of different rank whom he took with him. There was also no lack of the most gorgeous furniture and the necessary provisions for a king’s traveling banquet.

When all was ready Solomon was wont to seat himself upon his throne, and would command the winds to do their duty. Immediately they gently lifted the carpet and bore it rapidly through the air to the appointed spot. During the journey, above the aerial caravan fluttered a cloud of birds, who with their wings formed a splendid canopy to shield their beloved lord from the sun’s heat, as the Hoopoes had first done.

One day, while on such a journey, Solomon was shocked to feel a ray of sunlight piercing through this plumy dais (raised feathers) which overhung his head. Shading his eyes, the King glanced up and perceived that there was an opening in the canopy. One bird was missing from its post. In great displeasure Solomon demanded of the Eagle the name of the truant. Anxiously the Eagle called the roll of all the birds in his company; and he was horrified to find that it was Solomon’s favorite, the Hoopoe, who was missing. With terror he announced the bird’s desertion to the most wise King.

“Soar aloft,” commanded Solomon sternly, “and find the Hoopoe that I may punish him. I will pluck off his feathers that he may feel the scorching heat of the sun as his carelessness has caused me to do.”

The Eagle soared heavenward, until the earth beneath him looked like a bowl turned upside down. Then he poised on level wings and looked around in every direction to discover the truant. Soon he espied the Hoopoe flying swiftly from the south. The Eagle swooped down and would have seized the culprit roughly in his strong talons, but the Hoopoe begged him for Solomon’s sake to be gentle.

“For Solomon’s sake!” cried the Eagle. “Do you dare to name the King whom you have injured? He has discovered your absence and in his righteous anger will punish you severely.”

“Lead me to him,” replied the Hoopoe. “I know that he will forgive me when he hears where I have been and what I have to tell him.”

The Eagle led him to the King, who with a wrathful face was sitting on his throne. The Hoopoe trembled and drooped his feathers humbly, but when Solomon would have crushed him in his mighty fist the bird cried,—

“Remember, King, that one day you also must give an account of your sins. Let me not therefore be condemned unheard.”

“And if I hear you, what excuse can you have to offer?” answered Solomon, frowning. But this was his favorite bird and he hoped that there might be some reason for sparing him.

“Well,” said the Hoopoe, “at Mecca I met a Hoopoe of my acquaintance who told me so wonderful a tale of the marvelous Kingdom of Sheba in Arabia that I could not resist the temptation to visit that country of gold and precious stones. And there, indeed, I saw the most prodigious treasures; but best of all, O King, more glorious than gold, more precious than rare jewels, I saw Queen Balkis, the most beautiful of queens.”

“Tell me of this Queen,” said Solomon, loosening his rough grasp upon the Hoopoe. So it was, say the people, that a bird told Solomon of the great Queen whose journey to Jerusalem is described in the Bible.

The Hoopoe told of her power and glory, her riches, her wisdom, and her beauty, until Solomon sighed a great sigh and said, “It seems too good to be true! But we shall see.”

So the King wrote a letter to Balkis, bidding her follow the guidance of fate and come to the court of the wise King. This note he sealed with musk, stamped with his great signet, and gave to the Hoopoe, saying,—

“If now you have spoken truth, take this letter to Queen Balkis; then come away.”

The Hoopoe did as he was bid, darting off towards the south like an arrow. And the next day he came to the palace of the Queen of Sheba, where she sat in all her splendor among her counselors. He hopped into the hall and dropped the letter into her lap, then flew away.

Queen Balkis stared and stared at the great King’s seal upon the mysterious letter, and when she had read the brief invitation she stared and stared again. But she had heard the fame of Solomon and was eager to ask him some of her clever questions to prove his wisdom. So she decided to accept his invitation and come to Jerusalem.

She came with a great train of attendants, with camels that bore spices and treasures of gold and precious stones, gifts for the most wise King. And she asked him more questions than any woman had ever asked him before, though he knew a great many ladies, and they were all inquisitive.

But Solomon was so wise that he answered all her questions without any trouble.

And she said to him, “It was a true report that I heard of you in my own land, of your wisdom and of your glory. Only that which now I know and see is greater than what I heard. Happy are thy men and happy are thy servants who stand continually before thee and hear thy wisdom.”

And she gave the King a hundred and twenty talents of gold, which was a very rich treasure, besides great store of spices, and the most precious gifts; no one had ever seen such gifts as the Queen of Sheba gave to Solomon.

But he in turn was even more generous. For he gave to the fair Balkis all that she desired and everything she asked, because he admired so much this splendid Queen of whom the Hoopoe had first told him.

And so, the Bible says, the Queen of Sheba turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. But the People’s tales say that in later days she married Solomon and they lived happily ever after. And it was all the work of that little Hoopoe with a yellow crown, whom after that we may be sure Solomon loved better than ever.

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Now King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, much more than she had brought to the king. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. (2 Chronicles 9:12 NKJV)

And that ends our story of King Solomon and the Birds.

See:

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 1

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 2

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Links:

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by Peter Ericsson

 

 

  Hoopoes – Upupidae Family

 

 

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

Curious Book of Birds - Cover

 

 

  The Curious Book of Birds

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

 

 

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King Solomon and The Birds – Part 2

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by W Kwon

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by W Kwon

King Solomon and The Birds ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 2

 

Cur Book of Birds letter-one day when Solomon was journeying across the desert, he was sorely distressed by the heat of the sun, until he came near to fainting. Just then he spied a flock of his friends the Hoopoes flying past, and calling to them feebly he begged them to shelter him from the burning rays.

The King of the Hoopoes gathered together his whole nation and caused them to fly in a thick cloud over the head of Solomon while he continued his journey. In gratitude the wise King offered to give his feathered friends whatever reward they might ask.

For a whole day the Hoopoes talked the matter over among themselves, then their King came to Solomon and said to him,—

“We have considered your offer, O generous King, and we have decided that what we most desire is to have, each of us, a golden crown on his head.”

King Solomon smiled and answered, “Crowns of gold shall you have. But you are foolish birds, my Hoopoes; and when the evil days shall come upon you and you see the folly of your desire, return here to me and I will help you yet again.”

So the King of the Hoopoes left King Solomon with a beautiful golden crown upon his head. And soon all the Hoopoes were wearing golden crowns. Thereupon they grew very proud and haughty. They went down by the lakes and pools and strutted there that they might admire themselves in the water mirrors. And the Queen of the Hoopoes became very airy, and refused to speak to her own cousin and to the other birds who had once been her friends.

There was a certain fowler who used to set traps for birds. He put a piece of broken mirror into his trap, and a Hoopoe spying it went in to admire herself, and was caught. The fowler looked at the shining crown upon her head and said, “What have we here! I never saw a crown like this upon any bird. I must ask about this.”

So he took the crown to Issachar, the worker in metal, and asked him what it was. Issachar examined it carefully, and his eyes stuck out of his head. But he said carelessly, “It is a crown of brass, my friend. I will give you a quarter of a shekel for it; and if you find any more bring them to me. But be sure to tell no other man of the matter.” (A shekel was about sixty-two cents.)

After this the fowler caught many Hoopoes in the same way, and sold their crowns to Issachar. But one day as he was on his way to the metalworker’s shop he met a jeweler, and to him he showed one of the Hoopoes’ crowns.

“What is this, and where did you find it?” exclaimed the jeweler. “It is pure gold. I will give you a golden talent for every four you bring me.” (A talent was worth three hundred shekels.)

Now when the value of the Hoopoes’ crowns was known, every one turned fowler and began to hunt the precious birds. In all the land of Israel was heard the twang of bows and the whirling of slings. Bird lime was made in every town, and the price of traps rose in the market so that the trap-makers became rich men. Not a Hoopoe could show his unlucky head without being slain or taken captive, and the days of the Hoopoes were numbered. It seemed that soon there would be no more Hoopoes left to bewail their sad fate.

At last the few who still lived gathered together and held a meeting to consider what should be done, for their minds were filled with sorrow and dismay. And they decided to appeal once more to King Solomon, who had granted their foolish prayer.

Flying by stealth through the loneliest ways, the unhappy King of the Hoopoes came at last to the court of the King, and stood once more before the steps of his golden throne. With tears and groans he related the sad fortune which had befallen his golden-crowned race.

King Solomon looked kindly upon the King of the Hoopoes and said, “Behold, did I not warn you of your folly in desiring to have crowns of gold? Vanity and pride have been your ruin. But now, that there may be a memorial of the service which once you did me, your crowns of gold shall be changed into crowns of feathers, and with them you may walk unharmed upon the earth.”

In this way the remaining Hoopoes were saved. For when the fowlers saw that they no longer wore crowns of gold upon their heads, they ceased to hunt them as they had been doing. And from that time forth the family of the Hoopoes have flourished and increased in peace, even to the present day.


Lee’s Addition:

When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2 NASB)

Vanity means – “too much pride in oneself or in how one looks.”

Pride can mean – “a sense of one’s own value that is too high.” or “an inborn feeling of self-worth.” (One of these definitions is good and the other bad.)

Was our King of the Hoopoes showing good or bad pride? When we think too much of ourself and think we are better or nicer looking. (“Look at me, I have a gold crown.”)

You could work hard on a project and win a gold ribbon or metal for that effort. If you wore that ribbon around your neck, would your attitude about it be a good or bad pride?

Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psalms 106:1 NKJV)

Links:

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 1

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 2

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 3

 

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by Peter Ericsson

 

 

  Hoopoes – Upupidae Family

 

 

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

Curious Book of Birds - Cover

 

 

  The Curious Book of Birds

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 1

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by Peter Ericsson

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by Peter Ericsson

King Solomon and The Birds ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

KING SOLOMON AND THE BIRDS – Part 1

letter-kING SOLOMON was wiser than all men, and his fame was in all nations round about Jerusalem. He was so wise that he knew every spoken language; yes, but more than this, he could talk with everything that lived, trees and flowers, beasts and fowls, creeping things and fishes. What a very pleasant thing that was for Solomon, to be sure! And how glad one would be nowadays to have such knowledge!

Solomon was especially fond of birds, and loved to talk with them because their voices were so sweet and they spoke such beautiful words. One day the wise King was chatting pleasantly with the birds who lived in his wonderful garden, and these are some of the things which he heard them say. The Nightingale, the sweetest singer of all, chanted,—

“Contentment is the greatest happiness.”

“It would be better for most people never to have been born,” crooned the melancholy Turtle-Dove.

The happy little Swallow gave her opinion,—”Do good and you will be rewarded hereafter.”

The harsh cry of the Peacock meant, “As thou judgest so shalt thou be judged.”

The Hoopoe said, “He who has no pity for others will find none for himself.”

The cynical old Crow croaked disagreeably, “The further away from men I am, the better I am pleased.”

Last of all the Cock who sings in the morning chanted his joyous song,—”Think of your Creator, O foolish creatures!”

When they had finished talking King Solomon softly stroked the head of the pretty little Dove and bade her cheer up, for life was not so dreadful a thing, after all. And he gave her permission to build her nest under the walls of the great Temple which he was building, the most beautiful, golden house in the whole world. Some years afterward the Doves had so increased in numbers that with their extended wings they formed a veil over the numberless pilgrims who came to Jerusalem to visit the wonderful Temple.

But of all the winged singers who spoke that day in the garden, the wise King chose to have ever near him the Cock, because he had spoken words of piety, and the nimble Hoopoe, because he was able to plunge his clear gaze into the depths of the earth as if it were made of transparent glass and discover the places where springs of living water were hidden under the soil. It was very convenient for Solomon, when he was traveling, to have some one with him who was able to find water in whatsoever place he might be resting.

Thus the Cock and the Hoopoe became Solomon’s closest companions; but of the two the Hoopoe was his favorite. The Hoopoe is an Eastern bird and we do not see him in America. He is about as big as a Jay, colored a beautiful reddish gray, with feathers of purple, brown, and white, and his black wings are banded with white. But the peculiar thing about a Hoopoe is his crown of tawny feathers, a tall crown for so small a bird. And this is the story of the Hoopoe’s crown.

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 2

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 3


Lee’s Addition:

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. (Psalms 139:14 NKJV)

I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:8 NKJV)

The Bible tells us that we are to be content with the way the Lord made us and we should delight or be happy to do what the Lord wants. That also includes doing what your parents want you to do.

Links:

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by Peter Ericsson

 

 

  Hoopoes – Upupidae Family

 

 

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

Curious Book of Birds - Cover

 

 

  The Curious Book of Birds

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

Bird Tales – Summertime Reading

Caribbean Dove (Leptotila jamaicensis) ©WikiC

Caribbean Dove (Leptotila jamaicensis) ©WikiC

So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. (Psalms 55:6 NKJV)

(Just published this on the other site “Birds of the Bible For Kids” and thought you might also enjoy reading these stories. Maybe you have children or grandchildren that would enjoy you reading to them.)

Now that school is out for most students, it’s time for reading. Why not check out some of the stories about birds. Here are some that you may have missed while you were busy studying during the school year.

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

And He said, “My Presence wiIl go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14 NKJV)

Stories From Young Writers:

Mrs. Patterson’s Parrot – by Emma Foster

George The Hummingbird – by Emma Foster

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Stories From The Past:

The Curious Book of Birds

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories

(Being updated – fixing broken links and polishing them. Stay tuned.)

Enjoy taking a break!

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The Wren Who Brought Fire

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

The Wren Who Brought Fire ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

THE WREN WHO BROUGHT FIRE

Cur Book of Birds letter-cENTURIES and centuries ago, when men were first made, there was no such thing as fire known in all the world. Folk had no fire with which to cook their food, and so they were obliged to eat it raw; which was very unpleasant, as you may imagine! There were no cheery fireplaces about which to sit and tell stories, or make candy or pop corn. There was no light in the darkness at night except the sun and moon and stars. There were not even candles in those days, to say nothing of gas lamps or electric lights. It is strange to think of such a world where even the grown folks, like the children and the birds, had to go to bed at dusk, because there was nothing else to do.

But the little birds, who lived nearer heaven than men, knew of the fire in the sun, and knew also what a fine thing it would be for the tribes without feathers if they could have some of the magic element.

One day the birds held a solemn meeting, when it was decided that men must have fire. Then some one must fly up to the sun and bring a firebrand thence. Who would undertake this dangerous errand? Already by sad experience the Kingfisher had felt the force of the sun’s heat, while the Eagle and the Wren, in the famous flight which they had taken together, had learned the same thing. The assembly of birds looked at one another, and there was a silence.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

“I dare not go,” said the Kingfisher, trembling at the idea; “I have been up there once, and the warning I received was enough to last me for some time.”

Indian Peafowl (Pavocristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavocristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

“I cannot go,” said the Peacock, “for my plumage is too precious to risk.”

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) by Nikhil Devasar

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) by Nikhil Devasar

“I ought not to go,” said the Lark, “for the heat might injure my pretty voice.”

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) ©USFWS

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) ©USFWS

“I must not go,” said the Stork, “for I have promised to bring a baby to the King’s palace this evening.”

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

“I cannot go,” said the Dove, “for I have a nestful of little ones who depend upon me for food.”

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) by Quy Tran

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) by Quy Tran

“Nor I,” said the Sparrow, “for I am afraid.” “Nor I!” “Nor I!” “Nor I!” echoed the other birds.

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

“I will not go,” croaked the Owl, “for I simply do not wish to.”

Then up spoke the little Wren, who had been keeping in the background of late, because he was despised for his attempt to deceive the birds into electing him their king. (see King of the Birds)

Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) by Ray

Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) by Ray

“I will go,” said the Wren. “I will go and bring fire to men. I am of little use here. No one loves me. Every one despises me because of the trick which I played the Eagle, our King. No one will care if I am injured in the attempt. I will go and try.”

“Bravely spoken, little friend,” said the Eagle kindly. “I myself would go but that I am the King, and kings must not risk the lives upon which hangs the welfare of their people. Go you, little Wren, and if you are successful you will win back the respect of your brothers which you have forfeited.”

The brave little bird set out upon his errand without further words. And weak and delicate though he was, he flew and he flew up and up so sturdily that at last he reached the sun, whence he plucked a firebrand and bore it swiftly in his beak back toward the earth. Like a falling star the bright speck flashed through the air, drawing ever nearer and nearer to the cool waters of Birdland and the safety which awaited him there. The other birds gathered in a flock about their king and anxiously watched the Wren’s approach.

Suddenly the Robin cried out, “Alas! He burns! He has caught fire!” And off darted the faithful little friend to help the Wren. Sure enough, a spark from the blazing brand had fallen upon the plumage of the Wren, and his poor little wings were burning as he fluttered piteously down, still holding the fire in his beak.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Daves BirdingPix

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Daves BirdingPix

The Robin flew up to him and said, “Well done, brother! You have succeeded. Now give me the fire and I will relieve you while you drop into the lake below us to quench the flame which threatens your life.”

So the Robin in his turn seized the firebrand in his beak and started down with it. But, like the Wren, he too was soon fluttering in the blaze of his own burning plumage, a little living firework, falling toward the earth.

Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti) by Nikhil Devasar

Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti) by Nikhil Devasar

Then up came the Lark, who had been watching the two unselfish birds. “Give me the brand, brother Robin,” she cried, “for your pretty feathers are all ablaze and your life is in danger.”

So it was the Lark who finally brought the fire safely to the earth and gave it to mankind. But the Robin and the Wren, when they had put out the flame which burned their feathers, appeared in the assembly of the birds, and were greeted with great applause as the heroes of the day. The Robin’s breast was scorched a brilliant red, but the poor, brave little Wren was wholly bare of plumage. All his pretty feathers had been burned away, and he stood before them shivering and piteous.

Bald Eagle (close up) Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

Bald Eagle (close up) Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

“Bravo! little Wren,” cried King Eagle. “A noble deed you have done this day, and nobly have you won back the respect of your brother birds and earned the everlasting gratitude of men. Now what shall we do to help you in your sorry plight?” After a moment’s thought he turned to the other birds and said, “Who will give a feather to help patch a covering for our brave friend?”

“I!” and “I!” and “I!” and “I!” chorused the generous birds. And in turn each came forward with a plume or a bit of down from his breast. The Robin first, who had shared his peril, brought a feather sadly scorched, but precious; the Lark next, who had helped in the time of need. The Eagle bestowed a kingly feather, the Thrush, the Nightingale,—every bird contributed except the Owl.

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

But the selfish Owl said, “I see no reason why I should give a feather. Hoot! No! The Wren brought me into trouble once, and I will not help him now. Let him go bare, for all my aid.”

“Shame! Shame!” cried the birds indignantly. “Old Master Owl, you ought to be ashamed. But if you are so selfish we will not have you in our society. Go back to your hollow tree!”

“Yes, go back to your hollow tree,” cried the Eagle sternly; “and when winter comes may you shiver with cold as you would have left the brave little Wren to shiver this day. You shall ruffle your feathers as much as you like, but you will always feel cold at heart, because your heart is selfish.”

And indeed, since that day for all his feathers the Owl has never been able to keep warm enough in his lonely hollow tree.

But the Wren became one of the happiest of all the birds, and a favorite both with his feathered brothers and with men, because of his brave deed, and because of the great fire-gift which he had brought from the sun.

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  by Quy Tran

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by Quy Tran


Lee’s Addition:

In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. (Psalms 78:14 KJV)

As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three:… Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. (John 21:9-12 KJV)

Trust you enjoyed this tale from The Curious Book of Birds. These entertaining stories were written 1903 and they are just as delightful and fun to read today.

(Photos added by me.)

Links:

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

 

Troglodytidae – Wrens Family

 

 

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

Curious Book of Birds - Cover

 

 

  The Curious Book of Birds

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

 

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The Forgetful Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Ian

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Ian

The Forgetful Kingfisher ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

THE FORGETFUL KINGFISHER

Cur Book of Birds letter-iN these days the Kingfisher is a sad and solitary bird, caring not to venture far from the water where she finds her food. Up and down the river banks she goes, uttering a peculiar plaintive cry. What is she saying, and why is she so restless? The American Kingfisher is gray, but her cousin of Europe is a bird of brilliant azure with a breast of rusty red. Therefore it must have been the foreign Kingfisher who was forgetful, as you shall hear.

Long, long after the sorrows of Halcyone, the first Kingfisher, were ended, came the great storm which lasted forty days and forty nights, causing the worst flood which the world has ever known. That was a terrible time. When Father Noah hastened to build his ark, inviting the animals and birds to take refuge with him, the Kingfisher herself was glad to go aboard. For even she, protected by Æolus from the fury of winds and waters, was not safe while there was no place in all the world for her to rest foot and weary wing. So the Kingfisher fluttered in with the other birds and animals, a strange company! And there they lived all together, Noah and his arkful of pets, for many weary days, while the waters raged and the winds howled outside, and all the earth was covered fathoms deep out of sight below the waves.

But after long weeks the storm ceased, and Father Noah opened the little window in the ark and sent forth the Dove to see whether or not there was land visible on which the ark might find rest. Now after he had sent out the Dove, Noah looked about him at the other birds and animals which crowded around him eagerly, for they were growing very restless from their long confinement, and he said, “Which of you is bravest, and will dare follow our friend the Dove out into the watery world? Ah, here is the Kingfisher. Little mother, you at least, reared among the winds and waters, will not be afraid. Take wing, O Kingfisher, and see if the earth be visible. Then return quickly and bring me faithful word of what you find out yonder.”

Day was just beginning to dawn when the Kingfisher, who was then as gray as gray, flew out from the little window of the ark whence the Dove had preceded her. But hardly had she left the safe shelter of Father Noah’s floating home, when there came a tremendous whirlwind which blew her about and buffeted her until she was almost beaten into the waves, which rolled endlessly over the face of the whole earth, covering the high hills and the very mountains. The Kingfisher was greatly frightened. She could not go back into the ark, for the little window was closed, and there was no land anywhere on which she could take refuge. Just think for a moment what a dreadful situation it was! There was nothing for her to do but to fly up, straight up, out of reach from the tossing waves and dashing spray.

The Kingfisher was fresh and vigorous, and her wings were strong and powerful, for she had been resting long days in the quiet ark, eating the provisions which Father Noah had thoughtfully prepared for his many guests. So up, up she soared, above the very clouds, on into the blue ether which lies beyond. And lo! as she did so, her sober gray dress became a brilliant blue, the color caught from the azure of those clear heights. Higher and higher she flew, feeling so free and happy after her long captivity, that she quite forgot Father Noah and the errand upon which she had been sent. Up and up she went, higher than the sun, until at last she saw him rising far beneath her, a beautiful ball of fire, more dazzling, more wonderful than she had ever guessed.

“Hola!” she cried, beside herself with joy at the sight. “There is the dear sun, whom I have not seen for many days. And how near, how beautiful he is! I will fly closer still, now that I have come so near. I will observe him in all his splendor, as no other bird, not even the high-flying, sharp-eyed Eagle, has ever seen him.”

And with that the foolish Kingfisher turned her course downward, with such mad, headlong speed that she had scarcely time to feel what terrible, increasing heat shot from the sun’s rays, until she was so close upon him that it was too late to escape. Oh, but that was a dreadful moment! The feathers on her poor little breast were scorched and set afire, and she seemed in danger not only of spoiling her beautiful new blue dress but of being burned into a wretched little cinder. Horribly frightened at her danger, the Kingfisher turned once more, but this time toward the rolling waters which covered the earth. Down, down she swooped, until with the hiss of burning feathers she splashed into the cold wetness, putting out the fire which threatened to consume her. Once, twice, thrice, she dipped into the grateful coolness, flirting the drops from her blue plumage, now alas! sadly scorched.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

When the pain of her burns was somewhat relieved she had time to think what next she should do. She longed for rest, for refuge, for Father Noah’s gentle, caressing hand to which she had grown accustomed during those stormy weeks of companionship in the ark. But where was Father Noah? Where was the ark? On all the rolling sea of water there was no movement of life, no sign of any human presence. Then the Kingfisher remembered her errand, and how carelessly she had performed it. She had been bidden to return quickly; but she had wasted many hours—she could not tell how many—in her forgetful flight. And now she was to be punished indeed, if she could not find her master and the ark of refuge.

The poor Kingfisher looked wildly about. She fluttered here and there, backward and forward, over the weary stretch of waves, crying piteously for her master. He did not answer; there was no ark to be found. The sun set and the night came on, but still she sought eagerly from east to west, from north to south, always in vain. She could never find what she had so carelessly lost.

The truth is that during her absence the Dove, who had done her errand faithfully, returned at last with the olive leaf which told of one spot upon the earth’s surface at last uncovered by the waves. Then the ark, blown hither and thither by the same storm which had driven the Kingfisher to fly upward into the ether-blue, had drifted far and far to Mount Ararat, where it ran aground. And Father Noah, disembarking with his family and all the assembled animals, had broken up the ark, intending there to build him a house out of the materials from which it was made. But this was many, many leagues from the place where the poor Kingfisher, lonely and frightened, hovered about, crying piteously for her master.

And even when the waters dried away, uncovering the earth in many places, so that the Kingfisher could alight and build herself a nest, she was never happy nor content, but to this day flies up and down the water-ways of the world piping sadly, looking eagerly for her dear master and for some traces of the ark which sheltered her. And the reflection which she makes in the water below shows an azure-blue body, like a reflection of the sky above, with some of the breast-feathers scorched to a rusty red. And now you know how it all came about.


Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Nikhil Devasar

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Nikhil Devasar

Lee’s Addition:

An enjoyable Bird Tale from The Curious Book of Birds. Kingfishers belong to the Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family.

We know the Lord created Kingfishers and gave them their colors, but it is fun to read stories about them, even if they are make-believe. The flood and the ark were true, but that is not quite how they came to fly up and down the waterways.

That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; (Psalms 78:7 NKJV)

My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; (Proverbs 3:1 NKJV)

Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. (Proverbs 4:5 NKJV)

Kingfishers have been created by a loving Creator just as we have been. We differ from the birds because we were made in God’s image. Therefore, we need to remember our teachings about God and Christ and not forget them. That also includes what your parents ask you to do also.

(Photos added by me.)

Links:

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Nikhil Devasar

 

 

  Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family

 

 

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

Curious Book of Birds - Cover

 

 

  The Curious Book of Birds

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

 

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