Little Amaru, four years old, one day undertook an observation of three birds. It was a time of drought and not exactly of famine, but food was becoming scarce. Seeds were garnered for future planting. Precious water was hoarded in jars for human consumption. It was not a good time for birds.
They were all three brightly coloured, dressed in orange, red, yellow, and white, with red and black tail feathers. But there the resemblance ended, for their approach to life differed greatly.
All three were desperate for food and water. One, the boldest, hung about waiting for someone to make a false step, or to succumb to a moment of forgetfulness, and then he would swoop in and snatch a seed, or a fruit, or a beakful of water. The victim would then shout, or throw a stone. Soon all the wives and little children were alerted, and this bird was continually driven away, until finally he had to leave the village altogether.
The second bird was fearful in the extreme. He hung about in the background, all of his feathers drooping. The once-bright tail feathers became caked with mud. This poor little one starved to death, to Amaruís horror, and Amaru sadly buried it under the bush in which it had languished for a week.
The third one also hung back shyly, but he sang beautifully and attracted everyoneís attention. He cocked a bright eye at the seeds but made no move to snatch them. He groomed himself and looked beautiful and gratified the eye. He never stayed in one place for very long, but flew about here and there making everyone happy. Finally, people began giving him a seed or two when no one else was looking. When this happened, the Shy Bird hopped on the delighted personís hand for just a moment before flying away.
Soon so many people were feeding this bird that he became fat and sleek and more beautiful than ever. He lived for many years in the village and survived
more than one famine. And in later years, Amaru had occasion to remember his first lesson in survival.