Long ago the birds had no song. Only man could sing. Each day
man greeted the rising sun with a song. The birds, as they flew
by, listened to the beautiful song and they wished they too could
sing. One day the Creator visited the earth.
The Creator walked around on the earth looking at all the things
he had created. He noticed, though, that there was a great silence.
Something was missing.
As the Creator thought about this, the sun sank behind the western
hills. Then he heard the distant sound of a drum followed by the
chanting of the sunset song. The sounds pleased the Creator.
When the Creator looked around, he noticed that the birds were
also listening to the singing. "That's what's missing!"
said the Creator. "Birds should also have songs."
The next day the Creator called all the birds to the great council.
The birds came from far away.The sky filled with flying birds and
the trees and bushes bent under the weight of so many birds.
The Creator sat on the council rock. The birds perched and became
quiet. The Creator spoke.
"Would the birds like to have songs and be able to sing
as the people sing?" With one voice, the birds replied, "Yes!
The Creator spoke to them. "At tomorrow's dawn, fly as
high in the sky as you can. When you can fly no higher, it is there
where you will find your song. The bird who flies the highest will
find the most beautiful song."
The next morning, all the Creator's birds gathered upon the
land. Excitement spread throughout the birds. One small brown thrush
was not excited. He was perched next to a great eagle. He looked
at the strength of the eagle and thought to himself, "What
chance do I have of reaching the most beautiful song? This eagle
is so great. I will never be able to compete with a bird such as
The eagle, eager for daybreak, took no notice of the small brown
thrush near him. The thrush had an idea. The thrush flew to the
eagle's head and quickly hid beneath his feathers. The eagle stretched
his wings. "With my great wings, I will surely fly to the most
At that moment, the first break of dawn appeared. With a great
roar of wings, the birds took off. The morning sky remained dark
as so many birds flew up higher and higher.
first bird found his song. He had flown so hard you could hear a
hum coming from his wings. The hummingbird song plainly calls, "Wait,
wait for me." Next the cowbird tires, and as he flies down
to the earth, he sees other birds weaken and find their songs.
The sky began to darken once again. As the sun went down behind
the horizon, only the Eagle, the Hawk, the Owl, the Buzzard, and
the Loon flew higher.
As daybreak came the next day, only Eagle, the chief of all
birds, was left. He flew steady and strong until the sun was halfway
in the sky. He looked and saw he was the only bird left in the sky.
He began triumphantly soaring to the earth. The thrush awoke from
his sound sleep at the back of eagle's head. He hopped off the eagle's
head and began flying upward. The eagle saw the thrush begin his
journey, but was exhausted. The eagle could do nothing more than
stare at him in anger.
The little thrush flew higher and higher. He soon came to a
hole in the sky. Entering the hole, he heard a beautiful song coming
from the Spirit World. He stayed and learned the song. When he had
learned it perfectly, he took leave of that place and returned anxiously
to earth. He could not wait to share this most beautiful song with
he came closer to earth, he could see council rock, and he could
see the great eagle, Stagwia, waiting for him. All the other birds
waited in silence for thrush's arrival upon the earth.
The thrush, nearing the earth, no longer felt proud of his song.
He began to feel ashamed that he cheated to find this song. He feared
Stagwia, for he was the one thrush cheated out of the song. He flew
in silence to the deep woods. He hid in shame under the branches
of the largest tree. He could not proudly share his song.He was
so ashamed that he wanted no one to see him.
There you will find him even today. The Hermit Thrush never
comes out into the open because he is still ashamed that he cheated.
Sometimes, he can't help himself, though, and he must sing his beautiful
song. When he does this, the other birds stop singing because they
know the song of the Hermit Thrush is from the Spirit World. That
is why the Hermit Thrush is so shy and that is why his song is the
most beautiful song of all the birds.