The Eagle, the Man, and the Lions (Part 3)
- [At the conclusion of Part 2, a huge and magical Eagle had just landed by the
man who was still at the bottom of the great pit.]
"Word was carried upon the high winds to that a good and honest man was
imprisoned and suffering unjustly. I have flown here from the highest peak
of the mountains to offer my assistance," calmly spoke the Eagle. Then the
great and magnificent Eagle shook himself and carefully rearranged his
feathers. "Together we will fly out of this place...if you so wish. You
will again be a free man. I will carry you upon my back; but, I will need
"Sir, Great and Powerful Eagle, it is a true honor that you are willing to
help me escape this dreadful place and certain death. I will do whatever I
can to help; but as you can surely see, I am a simple man and not grand and
powerful as you are," humbly responded the good man.
"Ah, but I shall explain," said the Eagle. "As you know, it is a great
distance to the top of this vile pit. I am strong and can easily carry you
on my back as we fly out; however, I must have food to fuel our ascent. That
is where you come in," continued the Eagle. "We will get ourselves a couple
of lines and you will cut them up for me to eat as we fly out of here."
And so it was. With a lightning fast leap, talons sharper than any
diamond-honed blade, and beak strong enough to snap bones, the great Eagle
quickly and easily dispatched; first, the lioness who laid her claw into the
good man's leg; and next, a large male lion. Then, as the Eagle stood guard,
the man skinned the huge lions, cut the meat into large hunks suitable to be
eaten by the Eagle and placed them in bags which he made from the hides of
the lions. Although the remaining lions were alarmed and angered by the
deaths of their pride mates, they dared not challenge the great Eagle.
"Very Good. Very Good!" said the Eagle to the Man. "We shall soon be on our
way. But first, you must listen closely to what I say. When I need food, I
will make this sound...Gu-lump! When I do so, you are to throw a hunk of
meat to me when I turn my head towards you. I must have the food when I ask
for it or we will not be able to make it out of the pit," gravely spoke the
And it was so. The man, carrying the huge sacks of lion meat, climbed onto
the back of the great Eagle and they starter to fly out of the deep, deep,
pit making wide ascending loops. The only sounds to be heard were the
"flap...flap...flap," of great Eagle's massive wings and, from down below,
the growls and yeowls of the frustrated lions. It was not long before the
Eagle went, "Gu-lump!" Quickly the man grabbed a hunk of lion meat from a
bag and tossed it to the Eagle. "Flap...Flap...Flap!" Up, up, up.
"Gu-lump!" So it went for what seemed a very long time. There was no true
measure of the time which passed nor distance traveled so the man counted the
number of hunks of meat he tossed to the Eagle and noted that the pinpoint of
light above them grew brighter and nearer. "Flap...Flap...Flap!" Up, up,
One sack of meat had been emptied a very long time ago and the second one was
getting too light for the comfort of the man. The light from above flooded
into the great pit and the man, the good man, he blinked and rubbed his eyes.
He was having considerable difficulty adjusting to the light after being in
the dim depth of the great pit. "Gu-lump!" called the Eagle and the man
tossed him another hunk of meat. "By the Blessed Sacraments!" thought the
man in alarm. "We are so near. I can even smell the sweet, fresh air from
the outside. Yet, that was the last piece of meat and there is still a
considerable distance to the top. I am afraid we will not make it!"
"Flap...Flap...Flap!" Up, up, up. "Gu-lump!" went the Eagle. No response
came from the man, the very worried man. He was frantically trying to decide
what to do. There was no more meat. The second sack was now empty too.
"Gu-lump!" called the Eagle again. The man, the good man, he looked up and
out of the great pit. He could see the blue of the sky and the tip tops of
the tall forest trees beyond. The man looked down. Great long fingers of
darkness reached up seemingly to subdue the encroaching beams of light. In
this mind, the man, the worried man, he saw the Eagle, weak from hunger and
unable to resist gravity any longer, spinning, spinning downward. He saw
himself too. He was unable to hold on. The force of the rapid descent
wrenched him away and he spun wildly as he too fell. "NO, NO, NO, it must
not be so!" cried the man.
"Gu-lump! Gu-lump!" called the Eagle again and again. There was a note of
desperation in the voice of the Eagle. "Man," said the Eagle. "What is
going on. My strength is fading quickly. I cannot reach the top without
more meat for fuel!"
With swift slashes of his knife and a stifled scream, the man carved a huge
hunk of flesh from his left thigh. "Here Eagle, I have what you need," spoke
the man. The Eagle turned his head and the man tossed him the meat from his
Renewed was the strength of the Eagle. He now quickly flew out of the pit
and up into the fresh blue sky above. "We have made it, We have made it
out!" sang out the Eagle as he victoriously swooped over the great pit. It
was then that the Eagle felt the man fall with a thud forward against the
feathers of his neck. The Eagle, the great Eagle, he quickly landed in the
woods not to far from the entrance to the great pit.
"Man, are you all right?" called the Eagle over his shoulder. "I thought I
felt you fall forward against me. Has the thought of being a freeman again
overwhelmed you?" chuckled the Eagle. "And, by the way, that last piece of
meat which you fed me was wonderfully delicious. We would not have made it
out of the great pit without it. You saved the very best for last," opined
the great Eagle.
As there was no response from the man, the Eagle turned and twisted his head
until he could see the man lying still against him. The Eagle heard the man
groan. "Arise, good friend," implored the Eagle. "slide down from my back
so that I may see that is wrong and what should be done." Slowly, and with
great effort, the man, the weak man, he managed to slide off of the back of
the Eagle and onto the mossy ground. Not only was he weak but he in shock
from the loss of blood.
"By the Blessed Sacraments!" bemoaned the Eagle. You poor, poor man. What
have you done? You have cut the flesh from your own leg to save us? What a
brave and noble deed. And now you suffer so. I cannot let it be this way,"
concluded the great Eagle.
Then, with a great wretching sound, the Eagle regurgitated the flesh from the
leg of the man. And with a great and good magic, the Eagle made the flesh
suitable to again be joined to the man, the very good man. Gently, with his
strong and powerful beak, the Eagle placed the flesh back on the man's thigh
and rubbed it softly with the feather tips of one mighty wing. As the Eagle
spoke good and healing words, the flesh rejoined with the man and the man,
the very good man, he recovered his strength.
"Thank you, great Eagle, Sir!" said the man. "I shall forever be in your
debt, and I will always to ready to serve you!"
"These are hard and desperate times for the people of this land," replied the
Eagle. "All that are good and righteous must work together to overcome the
injustices and evil set upon them from afar. I will give you this bag of
gold coins with which you may pay the taxes owed. But there will be more and
greater taxes as well as other burdens placed on you, your family, and the
other good people of this land. What will you do?"
"I do not know," said the man, the good and honest man. "My family and I
already work as hard as we possibly can. We try desperately to support
ourselves, meet our obligations, and to even get a little bit ahead; however,
we are no longer able to accomplish that. My family and I will have to think
long and hard. Perhaps there are other places where an honest man can live
in peace. I thank you again, great Eagle, for not only saving me but also
for the gold with which I can pay my taxes."
Then with words of good wishes and a fond farewell, the great Eagle flew
away. "Flap...flap...flap! Swoosh...swoosh...swoosh!"
And, as for the man, the good and honest man, well he turned away and hurried
through the woods back to his very worried family.
Again, this has been a folk tale first told by Uncle Tony Mrazek to one of
his nephews, Julius Rektorik. Julius Rektorik, in turn told it to his
children at bed time, and one of his daughters, me, has embellished it and
retold it for you here.
Susan Rektorik Henley
"If you run with the wolves, you must howl with the wolves!"
"Remember who your people are, keep and tell their stories."
"Keep the fires of the culture alive!"