'The Mynah Bird' by Martin Day
The Mynah bird sat on his Acacia branch and sighed. He longed to be important; special. He admired the other animals from afar. Each one seemed to be distinctive – unique - special. Wolves that run, leopards that leap, bats that fly, whales that sing. All he ever did was hop from one branch to another:
"Oh why is it that everyone is special except me?"
"But you could be special too, if you could only be more like them,"
the voice came from above.
The Mynah bird was embarrassed that someone had heard him bearing his heart and felt foolish to have thought it out loud. But this stranger seemed to understand his problem. He was curious as to whom this voice might belong to, but he could see no body to go with it. The voice sounded like it might be of some help to him.
"But how could I ever be more like them?” he asked. "I am just a dull black creature."
"Yes, dull and black won't get you far in life," came the reply, "and I see you don't have any hands either. It would be hard to make anything of yourself without hands."
The Mynah bird’s spirits dropped lower still. It was like this new companion could read his mind. How true it was! Just then, the voice's body slipped into view, hanging from a higher branch like a kind of living vine. The Mynah shuddered.
"But it’s no good sitting sulking," hissed the snake. "You need to pull your finger out!"
He smirked at his own joke.
"But you don't have any hands either," pointed out the Mynah bird.
"Ah, but I'm special already. I don't need hands to make me special. I'm dangerous."
He didn't particularly like the look of the snake, but it didn't look dangerous to the Mynah bird. With no hands or feet how could it be dangerous? He wasn't even sure how it was moving.
"So what makes you so dangerous?" asked the Mynah.
The snake's body started to slide forwards, whilst his head stayed still.
"Watch out!" he hissed and threw his head forward with mouth open wide.
The Mynah jumped with fright and nearly lost his balance. The snake stopped short and they both froze eyeball to eyeball.
"No one survives a bite from a cobra," he whispered menacingly, and relaxed back again.
"You're a cobra!?" gasped the Mynah shocked.
"What makes you think that?" said the snake, smirking again.
"You could have killed me with one bite," the Mynah flapped.
"But I'm not even venomous." The snake smiled wide and toothless. "And I'm not a cobra. But I am special aren't I?"
The Mynah bird sat with his beak agape.
"You see, I'm special because when I put on my cobra face I can appear to be a cobra. And a cobra is special because of its bite."
"Do you mean," asked the Mynah bird, "that you pretend to be something you're not?"
He was starting to recover from his shock now.
"You chose such ugly words," the snake scoffed. “What I mean is, that you can be anything you want to be… and others will love you.”
“Love me?” echoed the Mynah bird. “That would be wonderful.”
“And that's what you want most of all isn't it? It’s what we all want; to be loved. You just need to show them a different face. A less dull black face.”
And with that the snake withdrew.
“…and they'd love me,” dreamed the Mynah bird. He was alone with his thoughts again.
“But how can I be like the other animals?” he said to himself. “I can't run like a wolf, I can't leap like a leopard. What can I do to make them love me?”
As night closed in, the forest came alive with the sounds of the twilight animals. The bird fell into a restless sleep.
Next morning, the black bear was ambling through the forest in the cool morning air, when he became aware of the smell of honey. Or was it the smell of honey? No, it was bees he could hear, and it reminded him of honey. He looked keenly around trying to see where the bees were. But there were no bees in sight. There was a dull black bird on the Acacia branch overhead, but no bees. He moved on. But no, the sound was definitely coming from near the bird. There it was again.
“Can you see any bees from up there?” he asked the bird.
The sound stopped for a moment while the Mynah bird replied,
“No. No bees, just me.” And the bees started up again.
“Are you sure you haven't swallowed a bee?” the bear asked.
“No, the only thing I've been eating this morning is grasshoppers,” chirped the Mynah bird. Suddenly the bees were silent and there was the sound of grasshoppers.
Now this puzzled the bear because the sound of grasshoppers was an evening sound.
“What's going on?” he said slowly.
“It's me!” said the Mynah bird almost bursting with excitement. “I'm making the sounds of grasshoppers and bees.”
“You!” exclaimed the bear in astonishment.
... to be continued!
The rest of this story is available on Kindle, both individually and as part of The Animal Parables collection (paperback to follow later).
Use the links (left) to buy from Amazon.
Press the Contact button (right) to be sure to get updates.
© M Day 9-May-2007