The Fighting Mynahs

A story from Hawaii about how it's better to share and cooperate than to squabble and fight.

Teaching Tolerance illustration of blue birds flying around a ripe mango on top of the tree
Illustration by Caleb Brown

One early morning before the dew disappeared, two large mynah birds spied a ripe mango hanging from a tree. Sheltered from the hot sun, nourished by the rain, the fruit was perfect — a shining jewel fit for a king or queen.

The first mynah, an older bird who had survived many storms, moved toward the mango, cawing, "I've lived longer than you. I will eat this perfect fruit!"

Having never lost a fight, the second mynah answered, "I will rule after you're gone so the mango should be mine!"

"You're old and can learn no more," replied the younger bird, pushing out his chest.

Rising into the air, the mynahs challenged each other again and again, making a huge racket and stirring up dust and small stones.

Teaching Tolerance illustration 2 Blue birds feeding 3 small birds

In the midst of their battle, a mother and father sparrow pecked small pieces from the mango to feed their large hungry family. Flying back and forth from the nest to the fruit, the sparrows carried piece after piece into their fledglings' open mouths. Finally the children were full and fast asleep.

After hours of squabbling, the mynahs collapsed, tired and hungry. As they turned to look at their prize mango, much to their surprise, they saw hardly anything was left.

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