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The beija-flor

February 8, 2007

Leo told me the following fable as I drove him home from ESL class on
Monday night.  He told me in Portuguese, but I’ll relate it in
English:

There was once a huge fire in the jungle.  All of the animals–the
lions, the tigers, the jaguars, the gorillas–raced out to the forest’s
edge to escape the flames.  Looking back on their burning home,
they noticed a tiny hummingbird (the beija-flor)
scooping water into his beak from the river, then carrying it over to
the fire and dumping it in tiny drops over the flames.  The larger
animals all laughed at the beija-flor’s efforts, pointing out how puny he was compared to the raging fire.  The beija-flor,
unshaken, continued his flights from the river to the flames then back
to the river again.  As he did so, he stated to the other animals,
“I’m doing my part.”

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