**After reading the Grimm fairy tales, I thought up a little fairy tale of my own. Enjoy!**

There was once a flock of colorful birds who roosted in the tallest tree in the forest. These birds would sing of everything and anything: the rising dawn, the prevalent night, the brilliant sun, the lonely moon, the birth of a bear cub, the death of a butterfly, the joys of life, and the sorrows of life as well.

One day, a young man was walking through the forest and heard the birds singing right above his head. The man called up to them, "I have lost my way. You birds, who can see so far and wide, won't you please help me?"

The birds cackled and chirped and said in unison, "Of course, noble sir, we will show you where you must go." And off flew the whole flock of colorful birds, with the young man sprinting behind them in an effort to keep up.

Deeper into the forest, the man grew tired from running so far and so fast. "Far-wandering birds!" The man cried, "I am out of breath! Please, slow down!"

The birds replied, "You have such long arms! Why don't you fly like us? If you had wings, you would be able to fly forever without tiring." But the birds did slow down in their flight.

Then the man came to a river that was as wide as the length of a galleon and as deep as an ocean. The birds flew across the river in a few wing beats, but the man, of course, could not. The man called out to the birds, "Oh, magnificent flyers, please wait but a moment! This river is too wide and too deep for me to swim. I must build myself a raft and float across."

The birds did roost in the trees while they waited for the man, but all the while they sang in unison, "You have such a wide arm span! Why don't you fly like us? If you had wings, you could cross mountains, continents, even whole oceans before sundown."

After the man had built his raft and crossed the river, they all went on their way again.

But by and by the man came upon a great road that divided the forest in two. On the side of the road sat a weeping princess, and around her danced a beautiful white horse with a golden saddle and silver reins. The man told the birds to stop, and the colorful birds lighted down upon the surrounding trees.

The man went to the princess and asked, "Beautiful princess, why do you weep?"

"My horse refuses to be ridden," the princess sniffed, "If someone was brave enough to capture the horse, and even ride him, I would be forever in love with him."

"I will catch the mare with my bare hands!" The man said, and he ran for the horse.

And while the man was chasing the horse, the birds laughed and cried out in unison, "You have such nimble hands! Why don't you fly like us? If you had wings, you could capture that mare a hundred times over."

But the man persisted, and he managed to both capture and ride the horse, thus winning the heart of the fair lady. The happy couple rode off into the sunset, leaving the birds up in their perches.

They married immediately and the man became King, but a year later the King came upon the colorful birds once more in the forest while hunting. The man called up to the birds, "You puny rats! I am a King now, ruler of all the land. What do you have to say to that?"

The birds laughed at him and sang, "You have such power in your grasp! Why don't you fly like us? If you had wings, you could rule the whole world, the entire sky, and everything beyond."

The King considered their words and replied, "You speak of wings with such reverence; they must be the greatest treasure in all the world."

To which the birds replied in their loveliest voices, "Oh, they are, great King, they are! Such a treasure has never been seen in all the world. Shall we lead you to where you must go? There will you find your wings." The man agreed, and he followed the birds into the woods once more.

The birds led the King through the forest and stopped on the pinnacle of a tall cliff. They told the King, "This is a sacred cliff, the likes of which you have never seen before, and will never see again. If you jump from this cliff, your wings will appear and you will fly."

But the man doubted the birds. He said, "But what if I jump off this cliff and fall like a rock?"

"You won't," the birds sang, again in perfect unison. They flew around his head, displaying their beautiful colors and chanting, "Jump! Fly, great King! Fly to your kingdom! Many men have jumped, and every man flew higher and farther than they could have ever imagined. Go now! Jump and set your soul free!"

The King looked at his kingdom in the distance and was filled with premature ecstasy. "Yes!" He cried, "I see it! I will fly above my castle and rule everything the wind blows across!" He ran for the cliff, thinking, What a fright I'll give my palace guards, and my lovely wife, too! And he jumped.

In the end, the man, the self-proclaimed King, did fly. He flew down, down, down, and landed on a carpet made of granite and limestone. He died, of course, in case you had any doubts. And the birds laughed and laughed, before they flew across the land and oceans, singing of the man who flew. Because, in a sense, falling is just like flying, only with a more permanent destination.