A modern fable: how the birds got their beaks #writephoto #flashfiction

A Fable for Today – why the birds got their beaks?


When the world was young and no one had been trumped and a merkel was a small scavenging rodent, two gods vied to control the world; O’mi and s’tooth. O’mi controlled the creatures of the earth and s’tooth the air. Gradually O’mi’s greater powers of genetic modification meant his creatures began to dominate the sources of food and the creatures of the air, led by the birds called on s’tooth to do something. He went to see the God mother to seek guidance and, because that’s that god mothers do she gave him two wishes. The concept of three wishes is a modern construct and proves inflation is inherent.

He sat, as gods do, on a rather cold and uncomfortable rock and watched the sun rise, shining its golden light on the fields and the woods, the rivers and the seas feeding all the food with the nourishment it needed to be good. And he saw it was good because, well, it was bloody obvious and he’d done a bit of biology.

And he called on the birds and the creatures of the air who basically did what the birds wanted because, apart from the bats, they were getting eaten by the birds and they really really wanted them to go back to eating seeds. The bats, of course, paid no attention to anyone and just flew around joy riding the air currents and crashing into things and always walking away. And he told the birds to gather in their masses at dawn the next day. And he told O’mi to join him on his rock, but to bring a blanket and a flask.

And as the sun rose he wished that all the birds and the creatures of the air form a globe and block the golden orb. And O’mi watched and saw that this was bad because basically he was freezing his nuts off what with him wearing only his summer toga. ‘Bloody moron,’ he said. ‘We’ll all die.’

‘Not if you share all the food.’

O’mi gave this a moment’s thought and smirked. ‘Ok. And you promise not to pull such a stupid trick again?’

‘Ok.’ And s’tooth waved to the birds who were frankly as fed up as O’mi because they were getting cramp trying to hold their bird-ball up with everyone’s wings getting in the way.

‘However,’ said s’tooth, ‘I expect you to keep your word.’

O’mi, who was already moving off to get a cardigan, stopped. ‘What if I don’t?’

And s’tooth wished his second wish and all the birds grew beaks, making it easy for them to peck grain but awfully awkward to eat the other creatures of the air, who silently cheered and began to look for somewhere to hide because, really this wasn’t going to end well.

O’mi laughed. ‘How’s that going to help?’

And s’tooth called across the largest most fabulous bird of the air, a phoenix called Arthur and whispered to him.

‘You sure, boss?’

S’tooth nodded and Arthur flew directly at the sun. He hovered by the middle and when s’tooth nodded he pecked a piece out of the sun. Immediately all the golden juices began to leech away, pouring into the sea.

O’mi looked horrified. ‘Stop him. Now.’



S’tooth waved again and Arthur plugged the hole. s’tooth put an arm around his colleague. ‘Now you know what’ll happen if you try and bugger us about again. I think, all things considered that the Ambrosias are on you.’

This is written in repsonse to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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35 Responses to A modern fable: how the birds got their beaks #writephoto #flashfiction

  1. Ritu says:

    Very good His GEOFFLESHIP lol!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    It explains a lot about the workings of the world… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bernadette says:

    You have a vivid and imaginative way of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. barbtaub says:

    “The concept of three wishes is a modern construct and proves inflation is inherent.” This whole post is full of fabulous. There really needs to be a “loved” button because I love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ellenbest24 says:

    It’s as broad as it is long … the beak 😉 your head holds the key to quirky. X

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The wish inflation, the god needing a cardigan, so much to love about this one, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. davidprosser says:

    I’ve always known those gods were a contrary bunch. Always fiddling with things. Perhaps it’s the ambrosia, isn’t that where you forget a lot of things?
    Hugs Geoff

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was waiting for you to inject ‘God’ between the two names somehow and you fooled me and didn’t! That is possibly the best fable I have ever heard AND possibly the best ever picture inspired flash fiction – and that’s saying something!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. goroyboy says:

    Wonderful piece. Enjoyed this tale. Mythology, endless possibilities

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Erika Kind says:

    Haha!!! That was so funny. Reminded me of the “true” stories my father sometimes told us how things developed… lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Photo prompt round-up – Gold #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  12. BRILLIANT!!I love the way you have used the image in the story Geoff, and your dry humour always cracks me up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. robertcday says:

    Makes perfect sense – make mine a double! 🙂
    Kindness – Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

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