Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Eagle and the Hen

One day the eagle declared his love for the hen. He flew down to search
for her, and when he had found her he said: "I wish you to be my mate."

The hen answered: "I am willing, but let me first grow wings like
yours, so I can fly as high as you." The eagle replied: "I will do so,
and as a sign of our betrothal I will give you this ring. Take good
care of it until I come again."

The hen promised to do so, and the eagle flew away.

The next day the cock met the hen. When he saw the ring around her neck
he was very much surprised and said: "Where did you get that ring? I
think you are not true to me. Do you not remember your promise to be
my mate? Throw away that ring." So she did.

At the end of a week the eagle came with beautiful feathers to dress
the hen. When she saw him she became frightened and hid behind the
door. The eagle entered, crying: "How are you, my dear hen? I am
bringing you a beautiful dress," and he showed it to the hen. "But
where is your ring? Why do you not wear it?" The hen could not at
first answer, but after a little she tried to deceive the eagle, and
said: "Oh, pardon me, sir! Yesterday as I was walking in the garden
I met a large snake, and I was so frightened that I ran towards the
house. When I reached it I found that I had lost the ring, and I
looked everywhere for it; but alas! I have not yet found it."

The eagle looked keenly at the hen and said: "I would never have
believed that you would behave so badly. I promise you that, whenever
you have found my ring, I will come down again and take you for my
mate. As a punishment for breaking your promise you shall always
scratch the ground and look for the ring, and all your chickens that
I find I will snatch away from you. That is all. Good-by." Then he
flew away.

And ever since, all the hens all over the world have been scratching
to find the eagle's ring.

Note.--The bird of whom this story is told is the dapay, or brahman
kite. It is larger than most of our hawks and is more like the eagle
in appearance, although not very large.

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