Heru, the baby hawk, sits in a tree, searching for her family. As snow covers her body, she thinks, “If I was a sweet sparrow or a singing lark, anyone would help me… but with my hooked beak and my sharp claws, no one will ever come near me.” At this thought, a tear slides down her face.
As she shivers, a little horse watches her with wonder. She’s not a sweet sparrow or a singing lark. She’s a powerful hawk, and he’s never seen a bird more wonderful!
Slowly, the horse creeps out of his home and looks into Heru’s eyes. Heru is shocked to see that there’s no fear on his face, only kindness. She remains still, afraid of scaring him way, but the horse neighs out to her, “Come inside my home, dear hawk. You must be so cold up there.”
“There’s no way this little horse wants me near him. Doesn’t he see that I’m a terrifying hawk?” she thinks. So, she stays put. But the horse just waits and waits, jumping around to stay warm.
When Heru looks into his eyes again, she sees that they are wide with wonder. “Maybe I’m not as terrible as I think, after all. Maybe I am a bit wonderful,” she ponders. As her heart thuds in her little chest, she spreads her wings before she can change her mind. As soon as she flies into his home, the horse covers her with hay. Finally warm, she falls into a deep sleep.
Day after wintery day, the horse cares for Heru. Day after wintery day, Heru grows. Her beak grows longer. Her claws grow sharper. And all the other animals stay as far away from her as possible… but the horse never looks at her with fear, only wonder.
Eventually, the snow thaws, new buds poke out, and Heru grows into an adult. Just as the horse once beckoned her into his home, he now beckons her out. “It’s time for you to find your family, dear hawk,” he neighs.
The horse looks as kind as always, but Heru can’t stop her tears. “Does he finally see me the way everyone else does? Am I finally too big and too terrifying for him?” she asks herself.
With a heavy heart, Heru flies out of his home… but when she turns to say goodbye, the horse has tears running down his face. “I’ll miss you, dear hawk. Don’t ever forget how wonderful you are.”
With those words, Heru’s heart suddenly lightens. She is not too big and terrifying for the horse. He still loves her. So, with all his love filling her heart, she lifts her beak and unfurls her claws. As she flies into the sky, she whispers a promise to the horse and to herself, “I’ll never fear my power even if all the other animals do… and I will never ever look down upon myself again.” And she keeps that promise… forever and ever.