In a dark forest of old oak trees, where no human would enter there was a desperate fluttering of wings and the movement of tangled branches. A baby bird struggled to free itself from the gnarled grip of the trees limbs. It had fallen in the night from its nest and hung in the balance of life and death. Caught by the hands of an old oak tree. It hadn’t yet learned to fly so it was doomed to fall or be set free. Learn to fly fast or die trying.
A girl watched from a short distance away, the bird’s futile attempt to be freed. She knew the forest was a place forbidden and had been told by her elders it was a cursed and evil place. But still she picked herself up from her little stone perch and walked towards the old gnarled tree. She looked up at the bird and the bird looked down on her.
“You are going to fall baby bird and probably die. I want to save you but I don’t know how. If you could lend me your wings, maybe I could use them to save you from that tree.”
“Little girl little girl,” the poor baby bird cried, “please help me, I am too young to die. I will give you my wings, but you will have to learn to fly. I cannot teach you because I too am just a child. If I give you my wings, you could fly up and save me. You have hands that are gentle and could easily remove me from the tangled fingers that embrace me.”
So the little bird lent the girl its wings so the girl could fly and save the birds life. “You have to find my mother to teach you to fly, she said I was not ready yet. But it can’t hurt for you to try. She lives in the very top of the tree, alone in a nest made of black leaves. Look for the black leaves and her dark blue eyes, and then you will know it is my mother. She will teach you how to survive with my wings. Be careful girl, now you have my wings and my life. The trees are a dangerous place for a little girl to be. The birds can be jealous because they cannot leave the trees. You are of the children of the ground and many will try to be like you. Be wary of those with strange colored eyes for they will try to deceive you like they deceived me. They said I could fly but they tricked me, it is how I ended up stuck in this tree. Go fast now because I grow tired and weak. My little fragile heart is dying slowly.”
The little girl climbed up into the great old tree. Winding her way through branches of that twisted oak tree. The farther she went, the darker it got and soon she knew she would never be able to see the black leaves because everything was dark, not just the leaves. She found herself lost with no help in sight. With twigs in her hair and scratches on her hands she curled herself up and began to cry. It shuttered the leaves and brought about the cold wind. The little girl sobbed and didn’t know how to stop.
“What is a little girl like you doing up here where only the birds and leaves belong?”
The girl picked up her head and found a dark bird. It stood there before her with feathers black as coal and eyes that had a gold shine. “What brings you here child from the ground into the world of the children from the sky.”
“I am looking for a mother who has lost her child. A bird who lives in a nest of black leaves. I found the baby bird and she asked me for help. So she gave me her wings to go get some help. Are you a mommy who lives in a black nest?”
“Why yes dear child, and I have lost my baby bird. I guess that you need me to teach you how to use your wings, so you can save my baby child.”
“Yes, that is exactly why I am here. Teach me mother black bird to fly amidst the trees, to navigate the gnarled ways of the old oak tree so I can save the baby bird and bring it back to you safely. I just have one question to ask, why don’t you go save your baby yourself?”
“I can’t you see for I hurt my own wing. For now I am like you. All I can do is sing. I am bound to the ground and cannot fly to save my child’s life.”
So the little girls training began. The black bird taught her to fly so she could save the baby bird. One thing remained that bothered the little girl still. Something the baby bird had said but she couldn’t remember it now.
Now the little girl with twigs in hr hair had learned the techniques and the skill but had not flown, not quite yet. The bird with the golden eyes sat on the branch next to her and said. “It is time now for you to fly. I have given you my knowledge now it is up to you to fly. “
Something didn’t feel right though to the little girl, maybe it was the gleam in the black birds golden eyes. “ Are you sure I am ready, I feel I have just begun to learn.”
“Oh yes dear child, and I am sure your time is short to save the baby bird. Every minute you wait, is one heart beat less of its fluttering heart.”
So the little girl knew she would have to move fast to save the baby’s life. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes. She opened her wings and leaned off the branch. But then she was falling, falling way too fast. The limbs reaching out to claw her as she fell down amongst the trees. Tearing at her and hurting her as she tried to fly. She beat her wings but they were just too weak. Then she remembered the warning from the baby bird, the birds were jealous and would try to trick her. The mother had blue eyes, not gold. She knew she was deceived and like the little bird before her was doomed to fall and die. The little girl tried to let out a scream but it was too late.
The black bird with golden eyes lazily drifted down in spirals from the top of the trees. Singing a quiet song of sweet victory. The bird landed on the little girls back as she lay motionless on the ground. It picked out a few twigs and walked along her back.
“Now I have a body to use so I can become a child of the ground, no more bound by the twisted branches of the cursed oak tree. Free I will be, free at last.”
So the deceitful bird with golden eyes took the little girls body and made it her own. To live, breath, and die as a human would. The only remnants of the birds old past, was a tattoo of a pair of black wings that no one could see.
The baby bird was left to die, also tricked by the evil black bird, without wings or a chance to fight. It’s poor little heart just stopped beating one day. Two birds with one stone fell by the black birds hand. Leaving the old oak tree a few people emptier. With nothing left but the twisted branches of that gnarled old tree reaching out, beckoning to newcomers to enter into the forest where no child of the ground ever leaves.