BIRDS' VALENTINE'S DAY
by Julie Silverman-Ditton
A Valentines' Day story adapted from a folktale of
Legend has it, that every year on Valentine's Day, Mother Nature calls all the birds
together to choose their mates. This was a year like many others. Many of the older birds
have already chosen their mates in the years before, but all the young birds gathered
round. They were all anxious to choose a mate and fly off with their new lovebirds to
build a nest.
"Mother Nature, let the choosing start!" they chirped.
But Mother Nature was holding a shy young eagle in her lap. She caressed the soft
feathers. Then looking up, Mother Nature saw a fine, big eagle standing before her. His
long wings spread wide, he looked like a proud and grand king. She said to the other
birds. "This eagle is the greatest of birds, truly a king. Until he chooses for
himself a mate, no other bird shall choose!"
The huge bird flapped his wings. He rose into the air, circled around the field and
landed in front of her again. "I choose that beautiful chic in your lap."
At that the tender, young eagle hung her head. She did not reply yes or no to his
request. So timid and shy, she did not dare say no to the king of birds.
But then another mighty eagle cried out fiercely: "You shall not have that lovely
creature! You do not really love her at all; you merely admire her looks. I truly love
her! She must be mine! Mine! Mine!"
"Oh no! Not on your life!" a third great eagle screamed. "You want to
possess her. I'll cherish her! I love her best of all!"
And with that those three great eagles all began to shriek. Each cried, "I'll have
her! She's Mine."
The eagles screeched & argued, till the wise owl interrupted. "You'll never
settle this affair by yelling!"
"That's true! We'll fight!" the eagles screamed. Before the others could stop
them, they took flight, circling one another. Each trying to knock the other out of the
air. One great bird struck the other with his huge bent beak.
"Enough! That will be enough of that!" cried Mother Nature. She waved her
arm, and the summoned birds flew down to her side, hanging their heads in shame.
"Fighting doesn't solve anything. There is always another answer."
The other birds were anxious to decide the matter so that they could get on with the
choosing. "Let us help!" they chirped.
So the goose took a gander at the fighting birds and said, "Let all these eagles
give this girl up. Let each one choose another mate!"
But the first eagle raged "Only a goose like you would say such a thing. What bird
who calls himself a gentleman would give up his true love and choose another mate?"
"Coo!" spoke the dove. "No lover should ever change his heart. Not even
if she says she will not have him for her mate. He should love her still and serve her all
"Quackery!" yelled the duck. "What sense is there in that? To wait a
lifetime for a girl! Get on with your life, all of you, and choose another bird."
"Cuckoo, I say, let these eagles live alone!" the cuckoo snapped. "Just
let them take no mates at all."
"Live all their lives alone!" the blue jay shrieked. "Who would have
thought of that save you, cuckoo?"
So now all the birds were quarrelling. And still nothing had been solved.
Mother Nature cried: "Be still! Everyone has had their say but the one whose
opinion counts the most. I have not asked this pretty young thing how she feels." she
turned to the bird in her lap. Which of these three eagles would you have as mate? You're
the one who should do the choosing, not me, and not anyone else. Which one do you
Then the pretty eagle spoke--shyly, very shyly. "Please, Mother, I am so young,
I've barely begun to explore life. I want no mate at all. At least not yet. Let me wait
before I choose. Next year, if any of these eagles still thinks that he loves me,
then--maybe! Maybe, I'll say yes!"
"Seems there's no reason for all your fighting!" Mother Nature cried.
"She will not choose until next year, if then! She will wait until she's good &
ready." At that, those three big eagles all drooped their wings, sank their heads
down on their breasts, and flew away.
Mother Nature turned at last to all the other birds and said, "Well it is
Valentine Day a day when you should all be "love birds". It is time for each of
you to choose your own mates!" And each flew off to that sweet bird he loved best.
The three eagles each spent the whole year wondering who the young female would choose.
They each worried so much that their heads turned gray! And one of them worried so much
that all his head feathers started to fall out. Now I can't be sure which one she
eventually married, but I think I know. And I think that all the kids inherited their
Daddy's hairline. And that's why we have bald eagles today!