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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
Concerning the hawk and the owl.
Start of Story
In the olden days when Effiong was king of Calabar, it was customary
at that time for rulers to give big feasts, to which all the subjects
and all the birds of the air and animals of the forest, also the fish
and other things that lived in the water, were invited. All the
people, birds, animals, and fish, were under the king, and had to obey
him. His favourite messenger was the hawk, as he could travel so
The hawk served the king faithfully for several years, and when he
wanted to retire, he asked what the king proposed to do for him, as
very soon he would be too old to work any more. So the king told the
hawk to bring any living creature, bird or animal, to him, and he
would allow the hawk for the future to live on that particular species
without any trouble.
The hawk then flew over a lot of country, and
went from forest to forest, until at last he found a young owl which
had tumbled out of its nest. This the hawk brought to the king, who
told him that for the future he might eat owls. The hawk then carried
the owlet away, and told his friends what the king had said.
One of the wisest of them said, "Tell me when you seized the young
owlet, what did the parents say?" And the hawk replied that the father
and mother owls kept quite quiet, and never said anything. The hawk's
friend then advised him to return the owlet to his parents, as he
could never tell what the owls would do to him in the night-time, and
as they had made no noise, they were no doubt plotting in their minds
some deep and cruel revenge.
The next day the hawk carried the owlet back to his parents and left
him near the nest. He then flew about, trying to find some other bird
which would do as his food; but as all the birds had heard that the
hawk had seized the owlet, they hid themselves, and would not come out
when the hawk was near. He therefore could not catch any birds.
As he was flying home he saw a lot of fowls near a house, basking in
the sun and scratching in the dust. There were also several small
chickens running about and chasing insects, or picking up anything
they could find to eat, with the old hen following them and clucking
and calling to them from time to time.
When the hawk saw the chickens, he made up his mind that he would take one, so he swooped down and
caught the smallest in his strong claws. Immediately he had seized the
chicken the cocks began to make a great noise, and the hen ran after
him and tried to make him drop her child, calling loudly, with her
feathers fluffed out and making dashes at him. But he carried it off,
and all the fowls and chickens at once ran screaming into the houses,
some taking shelter under bushes and others trying to hide themselves
in the long grass. He then carried the chicken to the king, telling
him that he had returned the owlet to his parents, as he did not want
him for food; so the king told the hawk that for the future he could
always feed on chickens.
The hawk then took the chicken home, and his friend who dropped in to
see him, asked him what the parents of the chicken had done when they
saw their child taken away; so the hawk said--
"They all made a lot of noise, and the old hen chased me, but although
there was a great disturbance amongst the fowls, nothing happened."
His friend then said as the fowls had made much palaver, he was quite
safe to kill and eat the chickens, as the people who made plenty of
noise in the daytime would go to sleep at night and not disturb him,
or do him any injury; the only people to be afraid of were those who
when they were injured, kept quite silent; you might be certain then
that they were plotting mischief, and would do harm in the