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The Legend of the King of the Birds

Long ago, the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, a bird that then had a very short tail, wished to be the most handsome of all the birds. One day, he met a mouse, who then had a beautiful long, fluffy tail, and wished to be the most handsome of all the animals. They agreed to help each other. The mouse gave the bird a long tail like his own, dressed with feathers which he pulled from the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo bird himself. The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo was indeed then the most handsome of all the birds.

Then it was the mouse’s turn to be made beautiful. The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo was afraid of those who were very beautiful, even if they were not birds, and did not keep his promise. Instead he pulled all the fur out of the mouse’s tail and left him with a very ugly tail. The mouse was very angry.

Sohlyngngem, a former girl friend of the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, was also angry because he had discarded her. (Her family was poor and his rich.)

The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo had a very good friend, the Black Drongo. Both friends had wished to be King of All the Birds, but when the Black Drongo saw how beautiful his friend now was, and knowing he was so clever that he could speak all languages, he gave up his own hopes and helped his friend. He called a huge meeting of all the birds to proclaim the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo King of All the Birds. Before that could happen Sohlyngngem told the meeting how she had been treated and of the broken promise to the mouse. But no one listened to her, and the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo was indeed declared King of All the Birds.

Even though the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo was now King, he still feared the anger of the mouse. And so he slept each night on the curved leaves of Tynriew Palm which has a thorny trunk or on a tall bamboo plant far from the reach of the mouse on the ground.

We know this is a true story because today when the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo flies all the other birds follow him. And we still hear Sohlyngngem crying in the forest.


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Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort
Village Laitkynsew
Meghalaya, N.E. India