The Fisherman Who Flew

Once upon a time there lived a magical silver bird known as the Kaha bird. She was beautiful and had a gigantic wingspan, but most of all she was known to be generous. People said she was a guardian angel to those who struggled.

One day a poor old fisherman who had worked hard all his life sat in his small wooden boat upon a lake. He was fishing as he did every day, and every day for his entire life, he had caught only one or two fish. These he sold to his neighbors, usually earning only enough to buy him and his wife some bread.

This particular day the sun shone brightly, and the fisherman had felt full of hope, but the day was growing late and he had caught nothing at all.

Then suddenly he heard an extraordinary sound over his head, and when he looked up he was amazed to see the Kaha; he had never dreamed she might find him. And then, more amazing still, the great bird settled in a nearby tree and spoke. “Tonight I will bring you something that will help you to earn money, and every night from now on, I will bring you the same.” Then she flew off toward the horizon.

At midnight the farmer woke to the sound of flapping wings outside his house. He ran to the window, and in the light of the full moon he saw the Kaha carrying in her beak the biggest fish he had ever seen. She swooped lower and dropped the fish on the ground.

In the morning the fisherman cut his fish into pieces, and these he took to market. He earned more that day than he had earned over the past month.

Again the next night, the Kaha bird brought a fish, and the next night as well, and now the fisherman knew he and his wife would never be in need. Every day he sold his fish in the market, and before long everyone was buying their fish from him.

The fisherman and his wife were very happy with their newfound wealth and began to dream of the many things they would buy as their savings grew.

One day the fisherman was in the marketplace when he heard the king’s crier: “Our king will reward half his kingdom to anyone who catches the Kaha bird,” the crier announced.

“What’s this?” the fisherman asked the crier. “Why does the king want to catch the Kaha bird?”

“The king has gone blind, and only the blood of the Kaha bird can save him,” the crier announced. “He is a desperate man.”

The fisherman was suddenly alarmed and began to mutter to himself. “The Kaha bird has saved me from starvation, and I must not betray her, but half the kingdom I could buy my beloved wife anything she desired.” And then he shook his head and once more muttered, “I must not betray her.” In this way, he paced and wondered and paced some more.

The crier, observing this, decided that the fisherman must know something, and so he grabbed him and dragged him to see the king.

“This man can catch the Kaha,” the crier told the king.

“Then, sir, you must capture her. I must regain my sight. Surely you do not wish your king to suffer? If your king suffers, so will his people.”

“But sire,” the fisherman argued, “it is impossible to catch the Kaha bird. It would take 200 men to capture a creature so big.”

“Then I shall give you 200 servants to help you.”

“Oh, but sire,” the fisherman argued, “it takes great cunning to catch the Kaha; she never lands on the ground.”

“You will use cunning, then,” said the king, “or I shall punish you and all my people.”

And so the fisherman returned home with 200 men, and when he told his wife they must capture the magical bird, she knew exactly what to do. “I’ll prepare a marvelous feast, and you will invite her to share this as her reward.”

That very night, the 200 men hid behind trees, under bushes, in back of rocks and anywhere they could, and the fisherman waited for the Kaha to appear. When she did, he carried trays of food out to the yard. “Come share our feast,” he called to the bird.

The Kaha circled in the sky. “Why would you feed me tonight?” she asked.

“We wish to thank you.”

“But why this night? Why suddenly do you want to give me something in return for my gifts? What has happened to you?”

The fisherman, dreaming of half the kingdom that would soon be his, cried out, “Why are you suspicious of your friend?”

When the Kaha bird heard this, she felt ashamed of herself, and flew down to the ground and sat beside the fisherman.

The moment she landed, the fisherman reached out and grabbed her feet and cried, “Quickly, I have her!” The 200 men leaped out and rushed toward her.

But the Kaha bird simply spread her huge wings and rose into the air, with the fisherman hanging onto her feet.

“Help me,” the fisherman cried, and one of the men jumped up and caught his feet and pulled, but he too began to rise into the air, so another caught his feet, and then another and another, until the Kaha was carrying dozens of men, rising higher and higher.

Suddenly the first servant looked down and realized that he could no longer see the ground. Trembling with fear, he let go of his grasp, and he and all the servants after him crashed to the earth, but the Kaha and the fisherman flew up and up, higher and higher.

No one ever saw the fisherman again, and to this day, the Kaha bird has never returned, either. They say she will return only when all the people on this Earth no longer are greedy.