The vast machines continued their wrath of destruction through the grand forest. They possessed the power to strip everything in their path of its beauty and its life. The machines roared with their love of power, knowing that nothing could stand in their way.
The animals fled. They knew that they could not stop the machines from causing more pain. Even the kings of the jungle were no match for the machines of power. Creatures that had existed for centuries were simply cast aside by the hungry greed of the machines.
But high above the machines of destruction, a lonely swallow flew, watching her friends being stripped of their homes, their hope and their lives. She swooped down and saw even the bravest, largest and most cunning creatures, all running. It made her sad.
Warm winds blew across her wings and she wasn’t sure whether it was the breath of the machines or the anguished cries of those that were losing everything beneath her. She was aware of the power in her wings that held her high above the ground and knew that she had a part to play in the theatre that was unfolding. She wanted to try to save someone from the unfolding misery all around her and flew down to see what she could do.
As she landed on the ground the Hyenas gathered around and laughed at her. “You think you can stop this by saving people – but what can you possibly do with that fragile body? Nobody can save us now you fool!”
The swallow looked up and saw the vultures circling over her head. They were huge and cast large, dark shadows all around her. They mocked and squawked at her. “Just look how tiny you are, you have no strength or power to save people – give up now whilst you have a chance.”
The swallow looked around and saw more creatures running from the machines. She felt power in her wings once again and launched herself into the air determined to make a difference. She knew she was small but her heart pumped in her chest and she felt she had a purpose to fulfil. As she flew, she grew tired of searching and felt weariness creeping in around her. The noise of the machines pumping out their negative noise was deafening. At times, she could hardly see through the clouds of bitter smoke that drifted up from the machines. But she kept flying.
She watched more and more creatures fleeing away from the machines. But she flew nearer and nearer to them, seeking someone to rescue. As she flew near to a lake where she had spent many happy hours feeding and enjoying her life, she spotted a baby hummingbird thrashing in the water below, ready to give up on life. Despite having never learned to swim, she knew she had to dive into the water to save the baby hummingbird.
With a huge gasp of air and enormous courage, the swallow dived. Hurtling headlong towards the lake, she knew she had found her purpose. Despite the fear for her own survival, she found courage in knowing that she would help another to live.
As she hit the water, her wings were crushed by the power of her dive. But she saw the baby hummingbird and caught her in her beak. With all the energy she had left, she lifted her head and pushed for the surface and broke free of the water that threatened to drown them both.
She felt an unknown force beneath her pushing her away from the water. Her wings had opened up and she was flying away from the lake with the baby hummingbird still held in her beak.
As she flew past the Hyenas she heard them bark. “You’re just trying to be a hero but you’re wasting your time – you can’t save us all!”
As she swooped past the Vultures she heard them screech. “You think you are better than us just because you saved someone. But why don’t you just give up now and then we can pick at the pieces of your empty life”.
But the swallow kept flying. She flew away from the grand forest and the evil machines. She flew away from the Hyenas and their mocking laughter. She flew away from the Vultures and their greedy selfishness.
She kept flying with the hummingbird in her beak until her wings could no longer hold them both in the air. She saw a shady spot that would be safe for them both to land and descended back to the ground. As she put the hummingbird down, her chest heaving from the effort to save them both, the hummingbird looked up and spoke gently to her.
“Thank you for saving me” he said. “You are so strong and brave. Why did you risk your life to help me?”
The swallow looked down at her fellow creature and spoke gently to him in return.
“You have wings, just like me” she said. “And I knew that my purpose was to use my wings so that you could fly. One day, you will use your wings to save another and when you do, remember me – that is all I ask.”
She closed her eyes and breathed her last breath. Her heart stopped beating but her love lived on within the heart of the hummingbird. The baby hummingbird grew and often thought of the brave swallow that saved him.
And he dedicated his life to helping others find their wings……
You may feel that society is driven by the evil machines of greed and selfishness. You may meet Hyenas who will ridicule your efforts to try to change things. You will almost certainly meet Vultures who will celebrate when they see you struggle or fail.
But the power of the swallow is in knowing its purpose and doing it quietly and anonymously. You need no fame, fortune or ‘X factor’ to make a difference. The smallness of an act of kindness can often be the significance of its impact.
So be worthy of your wings. And the bravery of the swallow will be yours.