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  • Clever Little Wren

    One morning last week we came downstairs, bleary eyed, to start the day – getting the kids off to school, clearing up, feeding the animals. All that stuff you do day in day out. As Marie came down one of the cats was being his usual obstinate self - sitting on the stairs in the way. But when he moved Marie saw something fly into the air and into the kitchen. Thinking it was a bird she followed but couldn’t find it – so had me climbing on chairs, looking on top of and under cupboards (not a good idea for me first thing in the morning I can tell you!)

    We couldn’t find anything and all the windows were shut. We started wondering if once again we had some kind of paranormal or spirit thing going on in the house. We often have things happen that don’t have any other reasonable explanation so it’s kind of a natural thing for us to do.

    As Marie was explaining to me what she saw – something about four inches wide and seemed to be bird shaped I noticed something:

    “Was it that kind of shape?” I said, pointing to a rather frightened looking Wren that had cunningly disguised itself by sitting perfectly still on the stainless steel sink drainer.

    It got me thinking about what kind of message was in it for us. You see Wren was hiding in full view. She (and I’m pretty sure it was a she) wasn’t trying to be something she wasn’t. She was a wren – why should she be anything else? What was clever about it was that by keeping perfectly still and waiting patiently she didn’t draw attention to herself – hiding in plain sight – it’s a great trick to learn. So what does that teach us?

    The Wren is a clever, industrious little bird that we hardly ever notice, mostly because of its size and dull colour. It’s not a very exciting little thing. How can it compete with the colour of the Jay or the power of the Eagle? Well let me tell you a story…

    One day, long ago, the birds were called to gather at a special place. There was a huge sense of expectancy among them. The starlings chattered to each other excitedly, though they were really only visiting for the summer. The Blackbirds sang proudly in the tree tops and the Robins squabbled among themselves for the best place to see what was happening. Eagles swooped majestically, Owls talked wisely to everyone and Kingfishers flashed blue and gold as they darted amongst them all. Sitting in the middle of all the kerfuffle and excitement Little Wren sat quietly unassuming– watching everyone around him.

    Before long a distinguished looking Owl – the oldest among them called the meeting to order:

    “We are all here to decide a very important thing. Our kind has lived here peacefully for as long as any can remember and have never needed leaders like the animals and humans. But times are changing. Our tree top and mountain homes are disappearing. It is time that we chose one among us who can lead us in these times. It is time to choose a King!”

    And this was what all the excitement was about. Who would be the King of the Birds? What’s more – how would they choose? Everyone started calling, singing and twittering at once who they wanted to be King. But Owl spoke once more:

    “First we must decide how to choose our King. We must have a contest. A King must have wisdom so we shall have a competition of riddles.”

    The rest of the birds all knew Owl was right – a King must indeed be wise. But they also knew that Owl would win and that seemed unfair. So the debate started. Blackbird suggested a worm catching contest – but everyone knew he would win and besides, not all birds eat worms. Kingfisher suggested a fishing contest but again all the others knew he would win and not many of them eat fish either.

    This went on for hours, everyone suggesting competitions they knew they would win, until eventually Little Wren spoke. He had to wait until they all went quiet so that he could be heard, being so little. He suggested that the King should above all things be clever, but before he could continue Eagle interrupted him. Now they had all really been waiting for Eagle to speak because they all knew that he was the strongest of them all and would probably be King – after all, which of them could beat Eagle, no matter how wise or clever, fast or beautiful. Eagle was magnificent and was the obvious choice. Ignoring Little Wren Eagle spoke loudly and clearly in a commanding (and it has to be said, very regal) voice as he addressed them.

    “A King must sit higher than his subjects so that he can see things as they are. A King must be strong so that he is obeyed and must be fearsome in battle to protect his kind. I am that bird. I am the strongest of you all. I fly higher and further than any of you. I see the smallest mouse from the highest peak. I am feared by man and animals alike. I will lead you in these times. I will be King. But if there must be a contest let it be something that all birds do – a flying contest. He who flies highest shall be King for he shall be above all other birds. Who shall challenge me to such a contest?”

    Now as I’m sure you can imagine it went very quiet. No-one really wanted to challenge Eagle – what with his huge talons and sharp beak and all that. You can understand that they were just a bit afraid to upset him – and would having a scary King be such a bad thing?

    Just as Owl was about to announce Eagle as King a tiny voice spoke up in silence:

    “I challenge you Eagle” said Little Wren.

    All the birds laughed loudly when they heard this (although some of them had to be told by others because wren had such a tiny little voice they hadn’t heard him) but others started to come forward. After all what would it look like, they thought, if tiny Little Wren - so small and insignificant - was the only bird brave enough to challenge Eagle?

    Jay’s vanity got the better of him and he was soon shouting out his challenge and puffing up his chest. Several of the Owls joined him in their belief that being wise was the same as knowing lots of stuff. Robin soon issued his own challenge because he always did love a good squabble when it came right down to it. Even the Starlings joined in even though they were only really on holiday because… well they were Starlings weren’t they?

    Soon all was ready and old Owl called for the contest to start. Eagle leapt into the air beating his huge wings and scattering all the other birds around him. The others all scrambled to follow but there was one who seemed to be missing – Little Wren. Probably got scared after all they all thought, and who could blame him being so tiny and insignificant a little bird. He didn’t even have pretty feathers.

    Before too long some of the birds pulled out of the contest as they reached as high as they could go. Quite soon it seemed only two birds were left. Buzzard thought he had a good chance of beating Eagle as they climbed ever higher but before long even he had reached as far as he could go – which it has to be said was quite a bit higher than he had ever been before!

    But Eagle wasn’t finished yet. He had something to prove – he was a very proud bird and was determined to show just how strong and Kingly he was. Onward he soared, high above the clouds until eventually even he found himself at his limit, higher than he’d ever been before. He cried out:

    “See how strong I am. I am the highest any bird has ever been. Acknowledge me as your KING!”

    But just then, at Eagles limit - from where even he could not fly any higher – a tiny voice spoke:

    “But I am higher still. I am King, not you.”

    Everyone was amazed to see Little Wren flying higher than Eagle. He had hidden unnoticed, even by Eagle, in plain view on Eagle’s back at the start of the contest and no-one, not even Eagle himself could dispute that he had flown higher than any of them – even if it was only for a moment before the new King ordered his subject Eagle to carry him back down. They all agreed - cleverness had won the day after all.

    And that’s how Clever Little Wren became King of the Birds.

    So the little Wren – one of our tiniest birds has a very big heart. Wren teaches us how it doesn’t matter that we’re not the strongest, the most beautiful, the most wise or the mostest of anything. What counts is to be us. Be ourselves – that’s what takes us forward and empowers us. It is about having the confidence to do something new – like inventing the word mostest like I just did (seriously it comes out us moistest in my spell checker!)

    Don’t get bogged down by rules and dogma – someone else made them up anyway. Make your own way and your own rules. Yes, we have to remember to be positive in our intentions - to be ethical. But in many ways we make our own ethics and morals. If we blindly follow someone else’s rules we have a morality that is empty - our heart just isn't in it and we don't truly believe it. We tend to quickly find ourselves in all sorts of bother as a result – just look around you at what’s going on in the world right now!

    Be like Little Wren. Be yourself but be clever about it. Use your own abilities, skills and wisdom and you will always win through – even though the going may be tough. Work at it and you will succeed.

    Anyway to take you back to our kitchen that morning. I spoke gently to Little Wren and reassured her that I wasn’t going to hurt her. I asked if she wanted my help. She let me cup my hands gently around her and she climbed into my palms – I could feel her feet gripping my skin! I took her outside to the Beech hedge that sits the other side of the bird feeder, where I assume the cat had caught her in the first place – they have been trying for weeks to catch a bird there since the chicks fledged!

    Little Wren was reluctant to leave the safety of my hand until I found the right place for her. Perhaps she could feel the Reiki and was taking advantage of the healing after her experience. But perhaps she was just doing what any monarch would do, and making sure the staff did as they were told!

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