Pride revisited

Mohsen H. Darabi

There was a little chick in a cage. While some people thought it was lonely, other birds knew it was proud. His master was worried about the cold nights closing in on the season as leaves were beginning to strip the green off the trees. The little chick felt proud in its cage because there was nobody else to share the room with. “This cage is all mine,” the chick often said smugly. But its owner couldn’t understand the chick’s language because he was a human after all. He thought the chick is unhappy because it had nobody to share the cage with. Soon, the master went to the market and bought a little duckling to add to the cage so that the chick would become happy to have company, a new friend to know and see. As soon as the duckling entered the cage and the gate closed, the chick ran after the duckling, chasing it around the cage, yelling: “Why did you enter my territory? This cage is mine, all mine, and I hit intruders hard with my beak!” The duckling kept escaping from the chick while neither knew what awaited them in the dead of that night as the stars were beginning to appear in the sky. The chick was utterly frustrated about the breach of its isolation and exclusive territory. Its frustration continued until the cold came before bedtime. The chick and the duckling were beginning to feel sleepy, and the breeze was losing its temperature as the air lost light to the darkness of night. The duckling finally sat on a corner of the cage and closed its eyes to sleep. Meanwhile, the chick felt cold and was seen alone as it sat on a corner, opposite to the duckling, and its pride of feeling like the king of the cage was gradually fading. The owner or master, however, was satisfied with the idea of introducing the duckling to the chick because he always thought the chick was sad about being alone in the cage. Slowly but eventually, the chick lost its pride to the bitter cold and thought about resting its chest on the warm back of the sleeping duckling. “Oh, and how warm it would be!” It said to itself. The chick came closer and closer. It rested its chest on the shoulders and neck of the duckling, putting some of its weight on it and feeling the cozy warmth of the duckling’s existence. The duckling shuffled a little without moving too much, not to make the chick feel ashamed, and felt the chick’s warm chest resting on its shoulders. Both of them were happy to make each other warm, and the chick realized that being alone in the cage is not as prestigious as it previously thought. There come days when pride and arrogance submit to the warmth of togetherness and cooperation. The chick would wake up the next morning to feel arrogant again, like a territorial monster, but would suddenly remind itself of the bitter cold that would always follow each night and be a threat like an enemy of all birds during winter. Togetherness would make victory and history, while victory is written by knowledgeable historians and futurists. Summer days finally arrived, and the chick started beating the duckling with its beak again. The chick didn’t need to rest its chest on the duckling’s shoulders at night anymore because summer’s nights are not very cold. But you might want to imagine that this story ended like the chick respected the duckling in the summer too, even though summer’s nights are not very cold. That depends on your imagination, darling, while many things are possible in this world we live in, and we must be careful throughout all seasons, with our friends and allies.

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November 20, 2017


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