With the whole lake for itself, the proud swan seemed to be enjoying the quiet moments by itself. Of late, there had been quite a few of those quiet moments. The thought that this silence was not natural did cross the bird’s mind from time to time, but the fact was that in that silence he had no one to fight for space with, so he didn't delve too deeply into it.Now he was the king of the lake!
This went on until the day some men carrying a huge pole with a noose at the top arrived at the lake, caught Swan by the neck, attached a tight tin ring around his left foot...and kidnapped him.
Poor Swan shivered with fear. How could this be happening? Why would they want to tear him away from his home? Why did none of the other animals come to his rescue? They were probably hiding, leaving him to his fate. The cowards!
Swan was taken to a pond that lay near a huge mansion. Above the house and the pond there were some almost invisible laser beams which, as Swan soon found out, would stun anything which tried to fly through them.
That was it. He had been imprisoned in a Guantanamo Bay-like prison. He’d never be able to escape, that’s for sure.
Everyday a little boy would come to the pond and spend hours telling him stories he'd read in books. When he ran out of stories to tell, he started inventing his own: he was a precocious little one, he was.
However, Swan didn’t want to listen, or pretended not to listen. He felt miserable in that pond – he had never wanted to leave his lake. Why had he been kidnapped? So many questions left unanswered!
So, one day, Swan decided to go on a hunger strike.
His not eating worried the little boy – it was painful to see how the once strong and proud swan withered away by the day.
'Something must be done,' the boy mused, with a sad frown on his forehead.
The prospect of losing his only friend was heartbreaking, but nevertheless, he pleaded with his father to take the swan back to his original home.
You have to hand it to the boy’s father, for he did make the effort to persuade his son otherwise. However, the little boy was resolute in his decision and the man had no other choice than to drive the swan back to its lake. It pained him to leave the bird in that highly polluted and toxic water, but he couldn’t go against his own dying son’s wish. ‘Good luck,’ he whispered as he set the bird free.
The bird was first ecstatic then little by little began to realise that there was no longer any life on the lake. Something had gone terribly wrong and he knew that like the other animals he, too, would not be able to survive there.
How he longed for the little boy and his stories! That’s when Swan decided to go back. He flew and flew until he saw the red roof and the pond down below. He remembered the shock he had once got trying to escape and knew that what he was about to do was really risky. But he had to take the plunge.
He nose-dived without a second’s thought.
A painfully electrifying shock crossed his body from head to tail but he persisted in his downward flight, heading straight to the place where he could see the little boy lying on his back. With a thump, he was right there beside his friend, managing to rest his head on the boy’s shoulder.
The boy smiled weakly as he said, ‘I knew you’d come back my friend,’ and put his arm over Swan.
And that’s how the boy and Swan were found, arm in wing, wing in arm, on the same rock where the boy used to sit and tell his stories…both sleeping the eternal sleep.
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