Why Falcons Have Stripes

A long time ago, the young Falcons did not have stripes on their wings. One day, a little falcon named Speedy was just learning how to fly. He needed this skill because they were in the Iroquois territory, near what is now New York and Maine. The Iroquois often caught and trained falcons and kept them in captivity.

His parents were teaching him how to climb, glide, soar, and to perform the very fast dive that falcons are unrivalled in, so he would be able to hunt, survive and avoid capture. They told him

"You may fly anywhere you like except the swamp. We have great enemies there. You must be home by the setting of the sun, for we do not want you to get hurt or killed."

"Yes Mother, I will." he said, crossing two of his wing feathers.

But one night, one of Speedy's friends said "Come on, you don't have to listen to your mother. Let's go to the swamp tonight. What is the matter, are you scared?"

"No, I am not afraid, but I should listen to my parents!" Speedy retorted.

"Wimpy falcon! wimpy falcon!" teased the friend.

"Well, okay." said Speedy finally giving in.

"Let's go." When they reached the swamp, Speedy's friend took off, leaving Speedy alone in the swamp, but Speedy didn't see anything scary, just a body of water and some grass.

Suddenly, Speedy heard a voice. It was saying: "Catch young falcon." It was a band of Iroquois braves who had been stalking him. Terrified, Speedy flew as fast as he could, trying four different ways before he could get out of the swamp. He screamed and flew as fast as he could back to the nest, and getting scratched by pricker bushes along the way.

"Mother, father, there were some Iroquois braves trying to catch me when I was at the swam..."

"You were at the swamp, son?" the father falcon asked sternly.

"Yes, my friend dared me to go."

"Don't go there again son, because you may not be so lucky next time," said the father falcon.

"I won't," said Speedy solemnly. And this time he didn't cross his wing feathers.

Speedy got scratched by pricker bushes, so for this reason, all young falcons have long, dark, black stripes on their wings which vanish at adulthood. The moral of this story is to respect your elders, because most of the time, they are right.

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