In the beginning, Hyacinth Macaw resembled some
other birds, but he was much bigger. He was all
blue, so it was often difficult to see him against
the sky when he flew above the forest. And his
beak was straight so that he could peck at trees
to eat the insects his favorite food--that lived
under their bark, and so that he could sip nectar
from flowers like his smaller brother, hummingbird.
Hyacinth Macaw lived a carefree life. Because
he was so much bigger than most other birds, he
had nothing to fear from them. And because he
lived so high up in the trees, he did not have
to fear other animals, except for the snakes that
can climb trees to steal macaw chicks. But with
his long, pointed beak and great size, Hyacinth
Macaw was unafraid of most snakes, and few snakes
would risk slithering up a tree to steal his chicks.
There were other birds less able to defend themselves
and their young.
As I said, Hyacinth Macaw was carefree. He was
also a foolish bird who thought he could do anything
he wanted. And what he wanted most was to fly
up high, so high that he could touch the sun.
Hyacinth Macaw loved the sun's warmth that swept
the morning mists from the forest and allowed
him to fly above the trees. There he would spread
his wings and let the air currents, heated by
the sun, carry him even higher.
One day, Hyacinth Macaw decided to fly up to touch
the sun. He told the other birds and forest animals
of his plan. They told him that he was being foolish,
"The sun is our Father," they said,
"And you must treat him with respect. You
cannot just fly up and touch him."
An old, wise shaman named Tupiyama overheard Hyacinth
Macaw telling of his plans. After the other birds
and animals left, Tupiyama called Hyacinth Macaw
to him. When he perched on Tupiyama's shoulder,
Tupiyama told him, "My friend, you should
not do this thing. It is not respectful. Besides,
it is not your nature to fly so high. Only Harpy
Eagle, Condor, and King Vulture fly this high,
and they are much bigger and stronger than you
are. Even so, Condor and King Vulture had the
feathers on their heads burned off. Stay where
you belong just above the forest. "
Hyacinth Macaw thanked Tupiyama for his advice
and concern but said that he wanted to fly up
to the sun to touch it. With that he took off,
and soon he was high above the trees.
Up and up flew Hyacinth Macaw, higher and higher,
and nearer and nearer to the sun- Never had he
been closer he came to the sun. He was very warm
and very happy, but he now was also very tired.
Indeed, he was so tired that he lost control of
his wings and fell toward the sun. Splat! Hyacinth
Macaw hit headfirst into the sun. The sun was
extremely hot, so Hyacinth Macaw quickly walked
off its surface.
But now Hyacinth Macaw found himself falling rapidly
away from the sun, tumbling downward through the
sky, toward the forest. Over and over he turned
as down he plummeted. Finally he was able to regain
his control, and he spread his wings. This slowed
his fall, and just before he was about to plunge
into the tallest trees of the forest, Hyacinth
Macaw straightened out his flight and landed safely
on a high branch.
For many hours Hyacinth Macaw perched on the branch
at the top of the tree, resting. Then, he realized
he was hungry, so he flew to a nearby tree to
eat some nectar from its flowers. But Hyacinth
Macaw was unable to eat; his beak was now bent
and curled downward because he had flown so hard
into the sun. He tried to peck the bark of another
tree to reach the insects beneath it, but his
newly curved beak was useless for pecking trees.
Hyacinth Macaw began to cry from hunger and frustration,
and soon the other birds and animals gathered
around him. When they saw what had happened, they
began to laugh. Hyacinth Macaw was angry. "I
am hungry and cannot eat, and all you can do is
laugh at me!"
The other birds and animals replied, "Yes,
because your beak is bent, and you look so strange.
And you have yellow splotches on your face".
Hyacinth Macaw flew to the river and looked
at his reflection in the water. He saw that
he now had yellow spots around his eyes and
the sides of his mouth where some of the sun's
color had rubbed off onto him when he flew into
it. He ducked his head into the water, but the
color would not come off. He put his beak into
the crook of a tree and pulled,but he could
not straighten it. Hyacinth Macaw again began
Soon, along came Tupiyama. He looked at Hyacinth
Macaw and laughed. "Now your looks match
your foolish behavior," he said. I warned
you not to fly to the sun."
Hyacinth Macaw replied, "Well, you were
right, but I did. Now what am I to do?"
Tupiyama reached into his pouch and withdrew
some nuts. "From now on," he said,
"these will be your food. And from now
on, people and the other birds and animals of
the forest will laugh at you because of the
way you look, because of the yellow spots on
your face. You may be a big bird and a very
strong bird, but the silly look on your face
is forever a reminder that you are a foolish
bird who did not heed the advice of those wiser
than you, and that you flew into the sun."
So that is why Hyacinth Macaw has a curved beak,
yellow on his face, and eats what he does. And
let this be a lesson to all of you to pay attention
to those wiser than us, and not to behave foolishly.
instead, follow the way of life that the gods
and forest spirits intended for us because we
can only be who we are, and we are happiest
when we do what is right and proper, as they