Blind Man Catches a Bird
This is a well known African morality tale, written out here in dialogue form, taken from the website listed below. It is a wonderful tale of wisdom and friendship.
Seeds of Peace....stories, prayers, & songs
A Blind Man Catches a Bird
Narrator 1 (Andisa): A young man married a woman whose brother was blind. The young man was eager to get to know his new brother-in-law, so he invited him to go hunting.
Brother-in-law (Ian): “You are welcome to join me.”
Blind Man (Adam): “I cannot see, remember? (pausing) But if you will help me see, I would enjoy the time together.”
Narrator: The young man led the blind man into the bush. At first they followed a path that the man knew. Here, it was easy for the blind man to tag on behind the other. After a while, though, the brush got thicker, the trees grew closely together, and there were many places for animals to hide.The blind man now held on to the arm of his sighted brother-in-law. He told him many things about the sounds they heard around them. Because he had no sight, he had a great ability to interpret the noises made by animals in the bush.
Blind Man: “There are warthogs nearby. I can hear their noises over there.” (pointing in direction of noise, taking a few steps, then pointing in another direction) “There! That bird is preparing to fly. Listen to the sound of its wings unfolding.”
Brother-in-law: “These sounds are meaningless to me. You have an ability to understand the bush which is beyond me!”
Blind Man: (urging him on) “Let us set our traps.”
Narrator 1: They walked on for several hours until they to came water.
Brother-in-law: “You can put your trap here.” (stops the blind man, helping him set his trap down) “The birds will come for water here.”
Narrator 1: The man put his trap a short distance away, taking care to disguise it so that no bird would know that it was there. He did not bother to disguise the blind man’s trap, as it was hot and he was eager to get home to his new wife. Any bird could tell that there was a trap there.
When the young man urged the blind man to follow, the blind man came willingl, believing his brother-in-law had disguised his trap. They returned home to their wives.
Narrator 2 (Jade): The next day, the pair returned to their hunting place. The blind man was excited at the prospect of having caught something. The younger man had to tell him to keep quiet or he would scare the animals away. Even before they reached the traps, the blind man could tell they had caught something.
Blind Man: “I can hear birds! There are birds in the traps.”
Narrator 2: When he reached his trap, the young man saw that he had caught a small grey bird. He took it out of the trap and put it in a pouch that he had brought with him. Then the two of them walked towards the blind man’s trap.
Brother-in-law: “There’s a bird in it. You have caught a bird too.”
Narrator 2: As he spoke, he felt himself filling with jealousy. The blind man’s bird was marvelously colored, as if it had flown through a rainbow and been stained by the colors. The feathers from a bird would make a fine present for his new wife.
Brother-in-law: (Young man bends down and takes the blind man’s bird from the trap, switching them) “Here is your bird. You may put it in your pouch.”
Narrator 2: The blind man felt the bird for a moment, his fingers passing over the wings and the breast. Then, without saying anything, he put the bird into his pouch. The two began the trip home. They talked of many hours, of many things, stopped for a rest under a broad tree.
Brother-in-law: “You are so wise. You know so many things even though you can see nothing at all. There is a question that has always troubled me. Can you tell me, why do people fight with one another?”
Blind Man: (taking his time, then looking up at the young man as if he could see him) “Men fight because they do to each other what you have just done to me.”
(Ashamed, the young man rises to his feet. Fetches his pouch, taking out the brightly colored bird, he gives it back to the blind man.)
Blind Man: (feels bird with his fingers, then smiles) “Do you have any other questions for me?”
Brother-in-law: “Yes. How do men become friends after they have fought?”
Blind Man (Smiling) : “They do what you have just done. That’s how they become friends again.”