A fable is told about an eagle who thought he was a chicken. When the eagle was very small, he fell from the safety of his nest. A chicken farmer found the eagle, brought him to the farm, and raised him in a chicken coop among his many chickens. The eagle grew up doing what chickens do, living like a chicken, and believing he was a chicken.
A naturalist came to the chicken farm to see if what he had heard about an eagle acting like a chicken was really true. He knew that an eagle is king of the sky. He was surprised to see the eagle strutting around the chicken coop, pecking at the ground, and acting very much like a chicken. The farmer explained to the naturalist that this bird was no longer an eagle. He was now a chicken because he had been trained to be a chicken and he believed that he was a chicken.
The naturalist knew there was more to this great bird than his actions showed as he "pretended" to be a chicken. He was born an eagle and had the heart of an eagle, and nothing could change that. The man lifted the eagle onto the fence surrounding the chicken coop and said, "Eagle, thou art an eagle. Stretch forth thy wings and fly." The eagle moved slightly, only to look at the man; then he glanced down at his home among the chickens in the chicken coop where he was comfortable. He jumped off the fence and continued doing what chickens do. The farmer was satisfied. "I told you it was a chicken," he said.
The naturalist returned the next day and tried again to convince the farmer and the eagle that the eagle was born for something greater. He took the eagle to the top of the farmhouse and spoke to him: "Eagle, thou art an eagle. Thou dost belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth thy wings and fly." The large bird looked at the man, then again down into the chicken coop. He jumped from the man's arm onto the roof of the farmhouse.
Knowing what eagles are really about, the naturalist asked the farmer to let him try one more time. He would return the next day and prove that this bird was an eagle. The farmer, convinced otherwise, said, "It is a chicken."
The naturalist returned the next morning to the chicken farm and took the eagle and the farmer some distance away to the foot of a high mountain. They could not see the farm nor the chicken coop from this new setting. The man held the eagle on his arm and pointed high into the sky where the bright sun was beckoning above. He spoke: "Eagle, thou art an eagle! Thou dost belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth thy wings and fly." This time the eagle stared skyward into the bright sun, straightened his large body, and stretched his massive wings. His wings moved, slowly at first, then surely and powerfully. With the mighty screech of an eagle, he flew.
As told by Vaughn J.
"The Aaronic Priesthood and You."
"THOU ART AN EAGLE"
Once a farmer took his young son on a hike. They tramped through the meadows and woods. They hiked through the pines and up over the hills. They climbed the steep mountains and finally, high above the timber line, scaled the crags and peaks. There they saw a giant eagle soaring overhead. They scanned the cliffs and finally located the nest. The boy climbed precariously up the cliff to where the nest was located. He reached into the nest, which rested on a ledge, and pulled out an egg, which he put inside his shirt. Then he climbed carefully back down the cliff.
He and his father returned home, and the boy put the egg in a nest where a hen was brooding over her eggs. By and by, when the eggs were hatched, each delivered a small chick except the one from which a young eaglet was hatched. Months passed and the eaglet matured. After the eagle was full grown, a naturalist was driving down the highway out in the country. As he drove by the farmer's yard, he saw the giant eagle. He slammed on his brakes, got out of the car, and went over to the fence. He could hardly believe his eyes. He opened the gate, walked into the yard, and found the farmer. "Where did you get that eagle?" he asked. The farmer said, "It's a chicken." The man responded: "I am a naturalist. I know all about these things, and I tell you that is an eagle. Furthermore, I'll prove it." He picked up the eagle, put it on his arm, and said, "Thou art an eagle-fly."
The eagle hopped off his arm and began to scratch in the dirt like the chickens. The farmer said, "I told you it was only a chicken." The naturalist asked for a ladder. He leaned it against the barn. Then he carried the eagle up on top of the barn. He stood at the peak of the roof on the barn, placed the eagle on his arm, and said, "Thou art an eagle-fly."
The eagle swooped down into the yard below and began scratching in the gravel. The farmer hollered up, "I told you it was a chicken."
The man climbed down off the barn. He made an agreement with the farmer. The next morning, long before sunrise, he picked up the eagle. He carried it through the woods and over the meadows. He continued up into the hills and the pines, onward, upward, above the timberline to the peaks and crags and pinnacles of the mountains. He arrived at the mountaintop just before dawn.
As the first rays of the sun began to streak across the sky, he put the eagle on his arm. The fresh, cool winds came through the valleys and trees below and swept up to the cliff where the naturalist stood. The eagle breathed deeply. The first streaks of sunlight caught his eye. He stretched his giant wings, almost six feet across. The naturalist said, "Thou art an eagle-fly." The eagle slowly lifted off the naturalist's arm. It ascended into the sky. It soared higher and higher and further and further. It saw more in an instant than its companions had in an entire lifetime, and from that time forth it was never again content to be a barnyard fowl.