The farmer on one of his morning walks had come across a small baby eagle.  The baby was   hungry, unfed and uncared for lying in a ditch on the road side. The farmer took pity on the small frail bird and brought him home to be reared   along with the other hens and roosters he had been keeping in his poultry farm. He instructed one of the servants looking after the farm to take good care of the new entrant.     “You must feed it the same food that you give to other hens and fowls so that it does not feel and think differently from the other birds in the coop”, the farmer had told the care taker.  As the time passed by the young baby eagle   started growing in age and physic on account of the easy availability of undemandingly obtained food at the pen. Soon the baby eagle virtually started believing that it was also the bird of the same breed that others belonged to in the enclosure of hens and roosters.

It so happened that one of the village elders, who had heard about an eagle being reared along with the chicks, had tried to caution the poultry farmer,   “son you are unnecessary keeping the baby eagle trapped with other birds. You must let it fly back as it belongs to the sky. It is one of those birds that can fly across the mountains. In its flight it can make the mountains feel dwarfed in its presence. It is a bird that can go up to the Sun and look into its eyes to talk to talk to the ball of fire. Please release this eagle forthwith and let it fly”, the village elder told him.

“But Sir, we do not have any eagle in our midst. I have all the chickens in my farm and their task is to lay eggs. Even the one bird you are referring to is also a hen and soon it will start laying eggs for me”.

“If you do not believe me you can talk to the bird yourself. Even the bird will tell you that it is no eagle”, the poultry farmer told the village elder very arrogantly.

The village elder finding the farmer non responsive and arrogant tried talking to the baby eagle. “Come on you dear little birdie. You should know that you are an eagle, which can fly high into the skies. You can cross all boundaries and look down upon the earth from the heights of your reach. Please leave the pen meant for hens and chickens and fly back to the heights of the blue skies”. But to farmers’ delight and to the surprise of the village elder, the baby eagle did not come out of the coop. It looked lazily at the village elder and told him, “How can I fly. I am but only a chicken, and chickens do not fly. My task is to lay eggs when I am ready to do so’‘, it looked disdainfully at the old man who had been disturbing  him from his daily slumber and went back to the enclosure built for warmth and  comfort. The poultry farmer too laughed mockingly at the village elder, “see sir I had told you we do not have any eagle here’.

“Perhaps someday I may have to show the actual heights to this bird to remind and awaken the powers of flying in him”, the village elder muttered to himself as he walked away from the poultry farm.

A few months had elapsed when the same village elder happened to visit the farmer’s house on some mission again. He noticed that the baby eagle had now grown into a full grown fowl of its kind yet it did not recognize its own powers of flying.  It pained to see a life worth while being wasted away like this. He avowed to himself to get the bird freed from the captivity. “I see son you still have the eagle living with the hens and roosters. It has grown fully now. You should let it go. It can take its own care. Let him go and fly back to the skies’, he pleaded to the farmer.

Perhaps you are not realizing sir that the bird is not aware of its own breed now. The bird thinks that it is only a chicken and it has lost all powers of flying. Even if I release him now it will die of hunger, or it will end up a morsel to the dogs. So let him stay back here only , happy with other hens and chickens of my farm house’, the farmer looked with a deep sense of pride at the eagle as if he was enjoying the fact that he made the bird change its mind and physic both.

“Please, you will allow me to take this bird to the roof top. I will try to just make him familiar of the height. It is possible that the altitude of the roof top may make him regain his lost touch with flying prowess “, the elder pleaded to the farmer.

The farmer who by now had been convinced of his own magical powers to turn an eagle into a chicken told the elder, “you may take him to any heights sir; this bird is no more an eagle’.  And look how correct he had been proved. The heights of the roof tops failed to impress upon the eagle that it was a bird meant to fly high in the skies.

The village elder still had not given up his hopes on this. He made another request to the farmer, “I think the elevation of the roof was a little too less to convince the bird of its flying powers. A mountain summit could awaken the soaring faculty in him and I could cajole him to reach the pinnacles”.

You may take him to the peak of the Everest. It is obvious this bird had been converted by me into a domesticated poultry bird. Perhaps someday it will lay some eggs just like other birds of the cage”, the farmer said.

The village elder took the eagle to the highest point of the small hillock situated outside the village. He made the bird look upon the snow clad mount visible at a distance, the    Sun shining through its glory thousands of miles away, and the blue azure skies above.  “Come on son take the first step. Just spread your wings. Take the first flight. Go get into the skies and fly very very high. You must make these mountain tops feel small with your dexterity to reach the heights. Go and look into the eyes of the sun and look down upon the bliss of ignorance and unawareness. Be aware of your own strengths and make the best use of the faculty of flying given to you by lord the almighty’.

To the utter astonishment of the poultry farmer the eagle spread its wings. It thought “there is no harm in giving it a try, if the old man is insisting so much. Who knows I may be able to?”

The bird who was being encouraged by the elder now took the first flight, “come on son I know you can do it. Just fly a little bit. The rest will come automatically to you”, the village elder carried on motivating and bucking up the eagle. The eagle that had gone much above into the skies   called out from there, “is this what you call flying. I will soon be back after looking into eyes of the Sun.  Maybe I will also look at other stars and meteors before I return”. The eagle fluttered its wings merrily and flew into the blue skies away from the captivity of ignorance and also away from the lack of belief into its own special faculty. While each one of us can draw our own meaning from this story, a fact common to us all will apply that many a times we underestimate our own strengths and powers, but once we begin trusting in ourselves , skies too will leave way for us to forge ahead towards our mission and destination definitely predetermined by us and us alone. .

For those of us who believe that we have grown too old or that we have lost the youthful dynamism because of age, my suggestion is we should ask the Sun how ancient it is. In spite of its having been in the skies for billions of years it still shines bright every morning. We must try to borrow this from the stars above and remain young in our thinking.

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