In the days when birds spoke, there lived a kind and courageous bird whose intelligence was quite remarkable.

He was unique in that he could live both on land, with other birds and in the sea amongst the fish. In those days, all birds had to pay a tribute to their king once a year. Our little bird was resolved to pay nothing at all. And when the king sent his people to collect the tax from him, he flew off and did not stop until he had reached the depths of the sea. All the fish came to greet him and ask him about tales from earth. He told them that life had become sadly unfair up there, as a cowardly king had tried to tear all his limbs apart, for no particular reason, despite the fact that he, poor little bird was the greatest subject of all. He begged them to accept him into their community and promised to tell the world that these strangers had been more welcoming to him than his own kind. The fish believed him and he lived among them for an entire year. However, when it came time for the king of fish to collect his tribute, our little bird took off once again and sought refuge on land.

And so, every time the tax collector came on behalf of the king of birds, he dove beneath the waves and every time the tax collector came on behalf of the king of fish he rushed back to the surface.

– Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan al-Fasi, or Leo Africanus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s