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Birds Of A Feather
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Once there was a dove named Rudy.
Rudy was like his flock, but with one difference, Rudy was not docile!
His flock were named the One Spots and lived in the trees within a lovely walled garden. Beyond the garden wall a corn field grew, where the One Spots found all the food they needed.
Life for the One Spots was very good indeed until something happened which changed their lives for the worst.
A flock of crows moved into the area.
The horrible crows attacked the corn fields in great numbers, eating and destroying until not one kernel was left for the doves.
The One Spots called a meeting.
"There is nothing left," they cried, "what will we eat in the coming winter months?"
All the doves replied,
"Winter is coming, winter is coming!"
The deadly realisation hit them hard.
"We will all starve."
Winter came, a cold, bitter hard winter it was.
All the creatures of the field shivered in their meagre shelters.
Hunger began to gnaw in their bellies and many died.
A meeting was called and the One Spots lined up on the garden wall.
"What are we to do?" they lamented.
No one had an answer.
Rudy flew to the head of the line and turned towards them. His feathers ruffled, he was mad.
"My friends, are we to cower and die without a fight? I say NO."
Fighting was not a concept understood by doves, the very birds representing the symbol of peace.
Attacking the crows, Impossible!
They balked at the very idea, and together with a fast powerful beating of their wings, made a hasty retreat to their trees.
"Alright," Rudy called, standing alone.
"Go and huddle to your bare branches and die there if you will. I choose to fight!"
Deciding to fight was one thing, but how to fight was another.
While thinking of a plan he heard an eagle, named Great Eagle, scream from his perch atop the transmitter tower one thousand feet up.
Rudy flew to the tower and perched on the lowest rung.
Puffing out his chest he gave the longest call he could muster.
"Eagle, Eagle, hear my plea!"
Great Eagle cocked an ear.
His extraordinary vision had detected Rudy long before he arrived, but took no notice. Normally he would have picked off the dove but today he was not feeling particularly hungry.
Seeing Great Eagle ignore him, Rudy called out again,
"Eagle, Eagle, come and talk to me!"
"Oh bother," the eagle thought, "better go and find out what this peasant wants."
The eagle spread his great wings and flew down to Rudy, perching next to him. His huge size dwarfed Rudy and made him shake with fear.
Anyway Rudy summoned all his courage and spoke.
"The crows have eaten our corn and we will starve, please help us." he pleaded.
The eagle screeched with laughter.
"I do not help doves, I eat them. What business of mine is this?"
"You must help us to survive," Rudy implored.
The eagle thought about this and decided to explain a few things to Rudy.
"Foolish dove, let me tell you about survival. You think I have it easy because I am great and strong, no, I do not.
Twice in every year the crows collect in gangs and attack me for my position. They want my tower.
Each time I must fight them alone. They tear at my flesh with their sharp pointed beaks, first one then many.
They surround me in groups and when one has finished with me another follows. In the end, I win, but for how long?
One day there will be too many of them and I will lose. Will the doves then help me?"
Rudy knew the answer.
He had not obtained the help he needed but did get a new understanding of the great eagle.
'Poor eagle.' he thought.
Next he flew to the far side of the field.
There in his secret den the coyote named Old Bone snoozed away the day.
"Old Bone, Old Bone." Rudy called.
Old Bone nipped and whined,
"Who dares disturb me in my den?"
"It is I, Rudy of the One Spots." Rudy replied.
"Go away foolish bird before I eat you." Old Bone said.
"We need your help," Rudy implored, "it is a matter of life or death for the One Spots. Please I beg you."
Rudy explained the situation with the crows to Old Bone, who listened while he huffed.
"Do you think only the One Spots face starvation this winter? I am old, left to live out my days alone without my pack to hunt for me. Soon man will develop this field and I will be caught in their nets. I will be sent to that place where old abandoned dogs go to be put down."
Rudy realised the eagle would not help and neither would the coyote.
He was doomed. He returned to his flock disheartened, while they all mocked him.
"HA HA" they laughed, "imagine the prey asking help from the hunters!"
Winter became cold and brutal.
More than snow, the ice covered the ground and tree branches. A few doves were able to scratch out a few plant seeds that fell off and were buried in the leaf litter.
Then Spring arrived at last.
Rudy and the One Spots watched the man till the soil and plant corn seed for a new crop.
The One Spots did not celebrate the planting of a new corn field.
The crows would be coming to steal it away.
One day Rudy was surprised to receive a visit from Great Eagle.
'What's this?' he wondered, 'Great Eagle comes to me? Could he be wanting to eat me?'
Great Eagle perched on the garden wall beside him. Rudy saw the eagle had become gaunt and thin.
"I have changed my mind," the eagle said, "without the corn field the mice and rabbits have nothing much to eat. If they starve I have no game to hunt and therefore I starve."
A rustle of the bush below alerted the eagle and Rudy.
They saw it was Old Bone.
"I too have changed my mind," snarled the coyote, "I starved this past winter for want of game."
Rudy could not believe his own ears.
Did he just hear what he thought he heard? 'The One Spots will get help to chase away the crows!'
From that day on Rudy, Great Eagle and Old Bone formed an alliance.
They guarded the corn fields together.
Not a crow got by before being chased away.
Against the gentle doves the crows win, but against the brotherhood of eagle, coyote and dove, they lose.
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