Heron and Hummingbird were very good friends, even though one was
tall and gangly and awkward and one was small and sleek and fast.
They both loved to eat fish. The Hummingbird preferred small fish
like minnows and Heron liked the large ones.
One day, Hummingbird said to his friend: "I am not sure
there are enough fish in the world for both of our kind to eat.
Why don't we have a race to see which of us should own the fish?"
Heron thought that was a very good idea. They decided that they
would race for four days. The finish line was an old dead tree next
to a far-away river. Whichever of them sat on top of the tree first
on the fourth day of the race would own all the fish in the world.
They started out the next morning. The Hummingbird zipped along,
flying around and around the Heron, who was moving steadily forward,
flapping his giant wings. Then Hummingbird would be distracted by
the pretty flowers along the way. He would flit from one to the
other, tasting the nectar. When Hummingbird noticed that Heron was
ahead of him, he hurried to catch up with him, zooming ahead as
fast as he could, and leaving Heron far behind. Heron just kept
flying steadily forward, flapping his giant wings.
Hummingbird was tired from all his flitting. When it got dark,
he decided to rest. He found a nice spot to perch and slept all
night long. But Heron just kept flying steadily forward all night
long, flapping his giant wings.
When Hummingbird woke in the morning, Heron was far ahead. Hummingbird
had to fly as fast as he could to catch up. He zoomed past the big,
awkward Heron and kept going until Heron had disappeared behind
him. Then Hummingbird noticed some pretty flowers nearby. He zip-zipped
over to them and tasted their nectar. He was enjoying the pretty
scenery and didn't notice Heron flap-flapping passed him with his
Hummingbird finally remembered that he was racing with Heron,
and flew as fast as he could to catch up with the big, awkward bird.
Then he zipped along, flying around and around the Heron, who kept
moving steadily forward, flapping his giant wings.
For two more days, the Hummingbird and the Heron raced toward
the far-distant riverbank with the dead tree that was the finish
line. Hummingbird had a marvelous time sipping nectar and flitting
among the flowers and resting himself at night. Heron stoically
kept up a steady flap-flap-flapping of his giant wings, propelling
himself forward through the air all day and all night.
Hummingbird woke from his sleep the morning of the fourth day,
refreshed and invigorated. He flew zip-zip toward the riverbank
with its dead tree. When it came into view, he saw Heron perched
at the top of the tree! Heron had won the race by flying straight
and steady through the night while Hummingbird slept.
So from that day forward, the Heron has owned all the fish in
the rivers and lakes, and the Hummingbird has sipped from the nectar
of the many flowers which he enjoyed so much during the race.