Once upon a time there was a clever little ostrich. She was the smartest little ostrich in her whole flock, and maybe on all of the wide plains. She also had a very good nature. She was loved by all of the other ostriches, and in her turn, thought very well of each of them. You see, this little ostrich, like all ostriches, wanted very much to fit in with her fellows, so they could all live together happily and well.
But it happened that this little ostrich also had wise old ostrich parents. These two had seen all of the plains, and had very long memories. When our friend was just a chick, barely able to stand on her nobbly legs, they told her to beware of the cheetahs and the lions and the hyenas that roamed the wide plains where they dwelled. For these animals were predators. And they could eat careless ostriches.
‘This is these animals’ nature’, they told the clever little ostrich:
and you should not be surprised or shocked by it — cheetahs and lions and hyenas eat ostriches, and our friends the gazelles and the zebras, just as we ostriches eat the leaves and the grasses, the roots and the seeds, the nuts, the grains and the little insects.
‘Never forget what we are saying’, her father would say to her, a little sternly:
If you see a cheetah or a lion or a hyena, you should run away as quickly as you can. If you are with others, you should startle these predators and chase them away, as fast as you can. For they are often cowardly, despite their bold appearance, and will often flee an open fight.
And so our little ostrich grew up, playing and eating and sharing her life with the other ostriches in her flock. And all was well for many years.
Each time she saw a cheetah, no matter how beautiful its spotted coat, she would hide herself away, and call her friends to quickly hide with her from the danger. Each time she saw a lion, no matter how noble its appearance, she would likewise flee, and call her friends to run with her to safety.
Finally, each time she was with a group of her friends, and the hyenas approached, they would all rush out to startle them, scattering the scavengers to the four corners of the plains. As she grew older, there were even times when our little…