How Hawk Learned of the Shallow Hearts of Men
In a certain tree called the Palmolin tree, in which the palm birds live, Chameleon has his home. Men plant those trees in the center of their villages, and thus it was that chameleon lived in a tree by a village market place. People feared this animal, for although it was quite small it possessed a surprising strength. It would spring on the backs of passing men and could not be removed until frightened by lightning and thunder. Then it would fall to the ground and run back to the Palmolin tree.
One day when Hawk was flying above the town he saw Chameleon on the ground, and sweeping down he seized the little animal in his beak and carried him into the air. The people in the village below rejoiced and sang the praises of clever Hawk.
“O Hawk!” they cried, “O greatest of all birds! You have captured the awful Chameleon, that wicked animal who has lived among us causing us fear and trouble. O clever Hawk, with all our hearts we thank you!”
The people were very happy. But up in the air Chameleon confided to Hawk:
“Brother, let me go back to my tree. Long have I lived among men, and I know they have two tongues. Today they praise a man and tomorrow they speak against him, for their hearts are shallow and their minds are weak. Let me return, O brother, to my tree.”
But Hawk was full of the praises of the villagers.
“The people praise and love me,” he declared. “I have found great favor with them. I will eat you, and they may make me Chief.”
“Unhappy bird!” Chameleon said. “Tomorrow men will curse you. Their memories are brief. Men only love themselves, as you will see.”
Suddenly he grasped Hawk by the throat, and so powerful was his hold that Hawk began to strangle, and fell down, and dropped breathless in the market place. The people quickly gathered, and saw Chameleon had overpowered Hawk.
“Noble Chameleon!” they cried. “O good and clever animal! You have defeated wicked Hawk, the thief who steals our chickens. With all our hearts we thank you for ridding us of that evil bird!”
They heaped praises on Chameleon and rejoiced. The little animal whispered in Hawk’s ear:
“You see now, brother? Now do you realize how shallow are the hearts of men? They have double tongues, and how short their memories are; a little time ago they praised you and cursed me. Now they curse you and heap honor on me.”
“I understand,” Hawk murmured. “Forgive me, Chameleon. Let us always be friends, for I know that Man will always be our common enemy!”
Then Hawk flew up into the air, and Chameleon went back to his Palmolin tree, and these two today are allied in friendship against the treachery of Man.