The Grey Eagle

Once, there were two brothers who lived together. The elder brother was a mean man who wanted the house all to himself. “Build one of your own,” he said, “and here’s a bag of our best seeds.”

30. The Grey EagleThe younger brother meekly built a house, and planted the seeds. He watered them every day, but only one sprouted. His unkind brother had roasted the others.

One morning, a grey eagle was pecking at the only thick green stalk. “Please don’t,” called the man.

But the bird begged him. “I have three babies to feed and there’s no food for miles.”

The man felt so sorry for it, he didn’t insist.

“I can reward your kindness,” hooted the eagle. “Be ready before dawn, with a sack.”

Sure enough, as the sky lightened, the eagle appeared. “Fly on my back,” it said.

They flew to a mountain littered with gold and precious jewels. “Hurry,” cawed the eagle. “We must leave before sunrise, or we’ll be burned alive.”

Rather than take some precious jewels, the man gathered seeds. Once home, he planted them, and they grew into a thick field of wheat.

When the elder brother came by, he couldn’t believe his eyes, especially when he heard what had happened. He went home, roasted all but one of a handful of seeds, and planted them.

And when the eagle flew by, he allowed it to eat the only stalk, and said he’d be waiting the following morning.

Once at the magic mountain, the man grabbed all the nearest golden nuggets, dumping them for larger ones, then dumping even those, for diamonds.

“Hurry,” said the eagle. But the man ignored it.

So when the sun rose, the eagle flew away, leaving the man to roast and burn.

This is a retelling of an old Xibo fable.

Illustrated by Bianca Lesaca

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