As Happy As a Lark


(A Fable)
I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me (Alma 29:3).

Lark was feeling rather sad. “I’m so plain and ordinary,” he said. “I have only dull-looking feathers. They’re too brown to be really gray, and too gray to be really brown. And the speckled edges make me look like some disease has left me disfigured and spotted. Even the yellow on my breast isn’t pretty and bright. It looks like dirty egg yolk. Why couldn’t I have had bright, colorful feathers like the parrot or even the bluebird?”

Bird King overheard Lark’s complaints and asked, “What’s troubling you?”

Lark answered sadly, “I’m so plain and ordinary-looking. And I’m not big and strong, or small and cute. There’s nothing special about me.”

“Oh, I see,” responded the king of the birds. “Would you like to go visiting with me today and see what we find?” The young lark quickly agreed, and off they flew.

They saw a giant eagle soaring in the distance. “Oh, I wish I could have strong, powerful wings like Eagle,” said Lark.

Bird King replied, “Let’s go visit Eagle’s nest over on the cliff.” So they tipped their wings and soared through the clear morning air.

After flying so far and high, Lark began to get tired. When they finally reached Eagle’s nest, Lark was all worn out. As he rested, he looked around the nest. Is this all there is to Eagle’s home? he wondered. These big sticks and branches don’t look very comfortable. And it’s lonely up here with no neighbors to chat with.

Bird King asked Lark, “How would you like being an eagle and living here on the cliff?”

Lark answered thoughtfully, “Although the view is lovely, and it’s perfect for him, I’m glad that I don’t have to live so far away from my friends.”

Bird King smiled to himself as they flew away. They hadn’t gone far when they came to the tree where the mountain bluebird nested. Bluebird was just flying home after a nice dust bath. Oh, Lark thought, Bluebird is beautiful! Blue is my favorite color. How I wish I could be a bluebird.

The King greeted the little bird with a cheery “Good morning. My, your feathers look lovely today.”

“Thank you,” Bluebird replied nervously, his eyes darting back and forth in every direction. “I do have pretty feathers, but all my enemies can see my bright color. It is dangerous being blue. I must constantly be on guard to protect myself and my family.”

Oh, Lark thought, I didn’t realize that being colorful would be such a problem. Maybe, my brownish-gray feathers are better because they are safer.

Bird King and Lark bid Bluebird farewell and flew on. As they approached Lark’s neighborhood, they saw Magpie and his cousin Crow.

Oh, how I wish my feathers were beautiful like the crow’s, Lark thought. He looks so shiny and black. And Magpie’s white feathers complement her black ones perfectly! They both looked elegant to Lark.

Bird King asked Crow and Magpie how they were getting along.

“Everybody thinks we live the rich life because of our fine feathers,” Magpie squawked. “But believe me, it’s terrible trying to get enough to eat these days. No one wants to provide for us, so we are forced to forage even in garbage dumps for our very existence.”

Crow broke in, “Gone are the days of wealth and luxurious life when poets wrote of our beauty. Nobody likes us anymore. We are outcasts everywhere, doomed to a life of misery and woe.” Crow complained on and on.

Lark could see why no one would want to even be around these birds with their negative attitudes. “I guess I don’t want to be a crow or a magpie,” he said to Bird King.

Bird King had a bigger smile as the two of them flew on to Lark’s little home. Lark’s neighbors came out to welcome him back with their cheerful chirps and twitters.

“I’m glad to be home where I’m safe and the trees are familiar and I feel like I belong. I have friends to chat with here, and food to eat. Being a plain, ordinary lark isn’t so bad, after all,” Lark admitted.

“There’s one more thing before I leave,” Bird King said. “You have a song no one else can sing. Others may be stronger or bigger, or more colorful, or even smarter, but you have a call that no other bird has. Did you ever stop to think that they may be wishing to be like you?”

As wise Bird King flew away, Lark sat on the branch of his favorite tree, singing his special song, “La-da-dee-dee-dee-da,” as happy as a lark.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki