There was a touch of red in the young hatchling’s tail feathers; and the shocking news of it spread rapidly throughout the land.
“It’s not genetically possible!” cried Doctor Heelamy, baffled at the sight.
“Which one of you has sinned to cause such a deformity!” accused Reverend Benedict.
“We are virtuous birds, Reverend!” replied the father. “This must be a creature sent from the evil one! How ashamed I am for it to be my own flesh and blood.”
The mother wept, no words at her beak.
The location in which this great commotion occurred was called Avolee: a vibrant globe overflowing with unique plants and animals. At the time of our story, no human had ever set foot or hand into this beautiful land. The dominant and most intelligent life form were the creatures of flight: birds bountiful in species. Among these birds, were the wigrens. These soaring avians were easy to spot with a wingspan averaging 11 feet. Their feathers were bright with every shade of purple, but what truly distinguished them was the touch of green in their tails. The wigrens took great pride in their appearance because colors were rich with meaning in their faith. The purple represented their wise leadership in the community. The touch of green in their tails was a holy symbol that God was with them. As for red, this was the color of The Evil One, a powerful enemy that could lead the wigrens into sin. Thus, the panic which spread throughout the community when a child hatched with a touch of red instead of green was unprecedented.
An emergency meeting was called of the town council to discuss what must be done. The council was made up of 5 highly revered members of this patriarchal society: Mayor Vladimir, Reverend Benedict, Doctor Heelamy, Teacher Timothy, and Ambassador Nestor. They all chimed in with their thoughts.
“We must keep him locked in a prison cell to protect us from his wickedness!” suggested Mayor Vladimir.
“We must hold a prayer meeting so the guilty may repent of sin and beg for mercy!” interrupted Reverend Benedict.
“If we can find a green feather donor I can perform a transplant surgery and all the red feathers can be burned!” offered Doctor Heelamy.
“Perhaps we can paint his tail green and no one will ever know!” said Teacher Timothy, anxiously.
The four birds began talking over one another, each wanting their idea to be seen as the best. Ambassador Nestor sat deep in thought before speaking.
“Throw him to the wolves!” he shouted confidently.
The bickering amongst the other four stopped as they took in this suggestion.
“Brilliant!” said Vladimir.
“The only place for a red demon!” agreed Benedict.
“Is that not overly cruel? Do we not support the value of each wigren life?” asked Timothy
“This is not a wigren blessed by The Almighty as we are! Rather, this is a wolf in bird’s clothing!” cried Heelamy.
The five agreed this was the most logical plan. The wolves which the counsel spoke of were fearsome creatures to the wigren. They had watched these wolves hunt and devour the weaker land birds below. Many were over six feet tall and they were the strongest of all land mammals in Avolee. They also were the only creature (in fact, the only living thing) to be red in color; their fur a deep vermilion. Ambassador Nestor was the only wigrin who had ever flown to the den of the wolves. As the brave traveler in the village, he volunteered to take the boy. The plan agreed upon was that Nestor would drop him from the skies into the center of the wolves den where he would presumably become food.
The next morning at dawn, the ambassador arrived at the home of Beatrice and Herbert Wigrin, the hatchling’s parents. Herbert was sorrowful but agreed this was for the best, he would not have wanted to raise such a child. Beatrice had been singing a song of mourning since the hatching, refusing to speak to anyone. (The wigrins could create incredible sounds similar to stringed instruments with their voices. Together with the other songbirds of Avolee it was as if an orchestra filled the land.) Nestor allowed Beatrice to complete her song, listening with empathy. He gently took the boy onto his wing, nestled him in a wicker basket, tied a blanket to it, and turned to leave with him.
“Wait!” cried Beatrice, speaking at last. “His name must be known. Walden.”
Nestor looked deeply into her tearful eyes and gave a nod. He then took off to the skies, soaring up with the morning sun.
He reached his destination by midday, and flew over the center of the wolves den as instructed. The young bird opened his eyes and looked down realizing the ground was getting closer and closer… when suddenly, he was placed gently on the ground in front of two giant red furry creatures.
“Greetings, my friend.” said the queen to Nestor. “What is this poor young thing doing with you?”
“Yours is the safest and most loving community I know of and this child has been shunned by his people for the color of his tail feathers. Won’t you take him in and be his safe haven? His name is Walden.”
“Oh darling, we have been blessed with a child!” said the queen to her spouse.
“Well now, this is not the strapping young pup I imagined for a son. However, he is welcomed! He will be our wolf prince! Er, wolf-bird prince!”
“Hurray for Prince Walden!” shouted the whole den as they welcomed the beautiful boy.
Nestor smiled, as he rose back up into the sky, trusting that the Almighty Bird knew what he was doing with this touch of red all along.
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