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There Is An Old African Fable

There is an old African fable about how the duck learnt to swim. Duck and Hen lived together in a house by the seaside. Their food was the rotten fish that the fishermen threw away. Everyday they saw Heron swimming up and down the sea, catching and eating fresh fish. This made Duck desire so much to have some fresh fish. But Hen said to Duck, "Why do you desire what you can't have? The Heron is a sea-bird. Her body is light. We are land-birds and land-birds do not swim. If you enter the sea with this your heavy body you will sink like a stone and that will be the end of you." Duck believed Hen. So they went on eating their rotten fish. But this did not stop Duck's hunger and inborn desire for fresh fish.

One very hot and humid day, Duck could eat nothing at all because the rotten fish smelled so bad. She just went and sat by herself, quietly looking at the sea. In a moment Heron came sailing by and saw Duck in such a pitiable condition. Heron asked what the matter was and Duck told him everything: how she always longed to swim and eat fresh fish but, unfortunately, the Creator had made her a heavy land-bird.

It was then that Heron explained to Duck that sometime in the past, even he himself was not a swimmer, but that he was forced by hunger to jump into the sea and then he discovered he could swim. Heron invited Duck to jump into the sea and give it a try but Duck was afraid. With more encouragement from Heron, Duck overcame her fears and stepped into the sea. To her surprise Duck saw that she was not sinking; she was floating. With time Duck learnt to swim well and catch and eat as much fresh fish as she wanted.

You see, Duck was not just a land-bird. She was equally a sea-bird. But as long as she believed that she was only a land-bird, she remained on the land and suffered want and privation. So the story is really about how the duck came to discover and realise her God-given identity and potential as a swimmer.

It is about how the flower bud blossoms into the beautiful flower that it is destined to be.

Have you learned to live your dream yet?


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