Wednesday, 16 May 2012

'After Æsop : The Oyster Catcher and The Lark' by Vivien Jones


There was once an oyster catcher who spent all his days hiding his stash of sea food under the mud of the estuary where he lived. He was afraid that other birds would find his treasure and steal it so he cried a warning ‘Pik! Pik!’ all day as he worked. 
One day as he probed the mud laid bare by the falling tide, he saw that the sea had fallen away from the top of a bank, leaving it like an island across the water. He straight away began to dig up his oysters and carry them to the island where the wading birds did not go. Soon he had a deep hole full of food. He was so proud of his wealth he strode up and down the bank preening himself, showing off his orange beak and legs to the world.
    Just then he heard a lark in the sky, ascending towards the sun singing.  ‘Why do you waste your time in singing, Lark,’ he asked ‘Are you not hungry?’
    The lark flew a little lower so that the oyster catcher could hear him.
    ‘I sing in praise of the sun in its golden glory which hatches the bugs I eat – do you not sing to the sea who brings you food?’
    The oyster catcher laughed.  ‘It was not the sea that fed me. I laboured through the morning to catch my food so I sing for myself.’  And he began to stride up and down the mud again, ignoring the lark, singing only for himself.
    The oyster catcher did not notice the tide turning and begin to steal back around his island. Soon it was lapping at his feet and he saw to his horror that his precious hoard was going, going, gone beneath the water. 
Moral : Better to trust your treasures in gold than off-shore banks.

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