There was once a bird who was different to all the others. His name was Dirb. He had lovely, multicoloured feathers and was forever preening them and fussing if the wind ruffled them. ‘I’m the best!’ he would boast. And then he would toss his head and run around, making the feathers glisten in the sun.
‘Stop boasting!’ his friends would call, ‘you’ll meet your end one day!’
But he would laugh and strut away.
One day Dirb went a little too far. ‘I’m faster than the wind!’ he cried.
Now this time, the keeper of the winds heard him. He flew down and challenged Dirb to a race.
Dirb eagerly accepted.
What the keeper of the winds next said was what the conditions were: if Dirb won, he would be spared, but if he lost then he would be punished.
‘Ready, steady, go!’ yelled the crowd, and off they went. Everyone was astonished at Dirb’s speed and when he crossed the finish line a second before the keeper of the winds, the crowd went wild!
‘Silence!’ yelled the keeper of the winds. ‘I demand a rematch!’
‘Hey!’ exclaimed Dirb, ‘I won fair and sq-‘. He was suddenly silent. He was floating up, up into the sky, through the atmosphere and into the night sky. Suddenly a burning pain spread up him from his feet. Dirb was on fire! He was soon a fireball. Suddenly he exploded! Balls of fire flew everywhere, forming the shape of a much larger bird. The last face he saw before his spirit withered and died was the sneering face of the keeper of the winds.
You see, the race was just a cruel joke. The keeper of the winds had always meant to punish Dirb. And Dirb will stay where he is, head proudly raised for all eternity.