Lessons from the Eagle - the King of the Sky

“A master’s eyes catches the errors, as an eagle on it’s prey” Jeevi

One evening many decades ago, my dad shared a special story about the Eagle with my siblings and I. As kids, asking us to sit in one place was like trying to tell a fire not to burn. But whenever my old man announced gleefully that it was story time, we huddled together quickly and looked up to him excitedly.

Sometimes the stories ended with a short comical song and at other times it ended with a brief recap to share the lessons learnt. It was a moment in my childhood that I will forever cherish and hope to replicate with my kids.

Today, I share this interesting story with you excitedly. The narrative is as dramatic and descriptive as it can get, all in a bid to drive home the message.

Although I credited the story to my father for many years whenever I retold it, lately however, he was kind enough to explain to me that he first read about it off the widely famous book titled “Things fall Apart” authored by the distinguished Nigerian Scholar – Professor Chinua Achebe. The book is acclaimed as the finest novel written about life in Nigeria at the end of the nineteenth century.

I will start with the first lesson to be learnt in this story as instilled in the proverb below;

“There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts.” – Men who shout should not be feared, as that is the most they will do. They will never be the type of person to take physical action; therefore, you should not fear them.

The Story

One of the young eaglets from a nest high up on the tallest tree around an undeveloped area not too far away from a village, was eager to take short flights while his primary feathers grow and strengthen.

The fledging eaglet takes his first full flight hunting for food one hot afternoon. He flies strong against the headwind spreading and flapping his wing as he scans the village with his head moving fast in small jerky motions for his prey.

From his view up in the sky, the eaglet caught a glimpse of a colorful set of creatures in a nearby village stream. It’s the duck and her duckling waddling through the water like they have got some kind of outboard motor. They appeared to be gliding so smoothly but underneath the surface their legs were working hard to move them along.

This looks like an easy prey” The young eagle thought.

In a swift move, the young majestic bird made an effortless swoop down close to the water, dropping his feet right in the water while closing all the talons together in a vice-like grip on one of the ducklings. It was a brilliant maneuver and he had watched his mother do it so many times.

As he soared high into the sky flapping his wings towards their perch, he cast a cursory glance at the stream to savor the reaction from the duck. But alas, there was none whatsoever. The duck waddled on as though nothing happened almost oblivious of the heist perfectly executed by the young eagle.

On arrival at their perch up on the tree, he excitedly beckons to his mother showing off his catch and his hunting prowess. Expectedly, Mother eagle asked him a few questions;

Where did you get this beautiful looking creature?

I swooped on a strange looking bird on a stream at the nearby village and hurried back home” The eaglet boasted, pleased with himself.

And what did the mother do?” the questions continued

“Oh well…..” he hesitated at first “She didn’t even bat an eyelid, I was too fast for her to notice

Then you must return this creature to the mother at once!” The mother ordered.

Baffled and confused, the eaglet sought for more explanation

You must only fetch prey from mothers who would do a lot more to keep their offspring away from marauders like us. So you must return this one at once

Off it went again spreading his wings and gliding through the air with the duckling between its claws. When he got within distance to the stream, he lowered his fortunate prey next to its mother and flaps his wings to continue his search for his afternoon meal.

Out of curiosity, he looked down to see the reaction of the mother duck- Yet again, he finds none! The duck continued to waddle through the murky waters, while the little duckling shakes off the fright to tell the rest of her siblings her exciting view of the earth from the talons of the eagle.

Within minutes, the young eagle suddenly sights another sort of bird, but this time, not on a stream and certainly not as colorful or even as remotely attractive as the duckling. This creature moved on the land foraging and scavenging for food by tidbitting. The hen was leading the chicks to food and water and occasionally called them toward edible items. The eaglet observed keenly while circling the area. It had a quite a number of offsprings and it made a bit of noise while at it–clucking.

This should be easy” The young eaglet concluded.

Instinctively, he made a swooping move for one of the chicks exactly in the same manner he did moments earlier with the duckling. He however didn’t envisage the defensive response from the mother hen. The mother hen drew herself up to twice her normal height, flaring her hackle feathers and raising her wings outwards. It perked although unsuccessfully, fluttered its wings in an attempt to beat the eagle and squawked so loud it echoed into the afternoon sky.

The defense didn’t stop at that, as the hen jumped and jumped, flapping its small wings in a failed attempt to rescue its chick. In the end, she could only watch as the young eagle soared beyond her reach flapping its broad wings leaving in its wake, dust and noise like a bitter widow.

The young eagle didn’t bother to look back this time, it feared for his safety. Suddenly, hunting wasn’t such a pleasant experience afterall.

It arrived its perch in no time and delivered the chick into the nest for the mother eagle to inspect.

This looks a bit different from the other one. Where did you get this one?

The eaglet explained his travails to his mother and the spirited fight of the mother hen as he picked up the chick. He was almost out of breath when he was done narrating his ordeal.

Good work Son, this is the sort of meal worth waiting for. This is good enough to eat

She then goes on to explain to the young eagle “There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts, that’s the best they would ever do. Shout, scream, fight, scratch, curse and all. But those who keep silent and stay watching you while you wrong them, please beware of how evil they can get”

Need I say more?

I will close this story with the proverb below;

“When mother-cow is chewing grass its young ones watch its mouth”

Thank you Baba Akin for sharing the story!!!!

Please share your comments. I would love to read from you.

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9 thoughts on “Lessons from the Eagle”

  1. You can never know the plans of someone who is silent in the face of obvious provocation. But is it always a bad thing?

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