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Native American Legends

Eagle and Red Tail

An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown

A long time ago, Eagle and Red Tail were the same size, and very good friends. But Red Tail was very jealous of Eagle, and thought he was better than him.

Red Tail would always make up contests for them to do, so he could show up his friend. This really made Eagle very sad, and every night he would pray to creator, that Red Tail would stop. It was not that Eagle was inferior, just that competing with a friend was wrong. They should enjoy being different, and what each other brought to the friendship.

Well one day Red Tail came up with the idea that they would each fly as high as they could, and then soar back down to the ground. Eagle kept saying he did not want to compete with his friend, it was wrong. But Red tail would not be put off. He kept taunting Eagle till he finally gave in to him. They both took off, and started flying. Eagle was ahead of Red Tail, and this made him furious. He started playing tricks on Eagle acting like he was hurt. When Eagle came back to help him, he took off so fast, he lost some of his feathers.

Eagle decided to just let Red Tail win, then maybe the contests would stop. So Eagle just soared around waiting for Red Tail to come back. He soared for 3 days waiting. He was beginning to really worry about his friend. Finally he saw Red Tail coming back. But he looked really small to him. As Red Tail got closer Eagle noticed that he was smaller. Eagle asked him where had he been, and what had happened to him. Red Tail told him he went so high he saw creator. Eagle thought he was playing a joke on him. But Red Tail told him so seriously, that he was very sorry for all the contests, and mean tricks he had played on him.

Eagle wanted to know after all these years why was he sorry for them. "Well" said Red Tail, "When I saw Creator he told me how you had prayed to him every night that I would stop the contests and the foolish games. It made me feel so small in character, that I began to shrink to the size you see me now.

Then Creator said as my punishment I would stay this way, and all my descendants shall be this size as well. And I will never be able to fly as high as the Eagle again. So my friend I truly am sorry for being so cruel to you. You clearly were better than me." Eagle was so touched by Red Tails words all he could do was look at him. Then he said to Red Tail, "No my friend we are equal yet different. Unique in our own ways. You will always be my friend. But now we can celebrate our differences, and our new understanding of each other." So on this they agreed, and cemented the friendship by giving each other a feather. And that is why Red Tail is smaller than Eagle. And why they both wear white as a sign of their continuing respect for each other.

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