One fine morning in the green wood a small bird flew about, looking for some breakfast. He happened upon a nice, fat slug, slowly and groggily moving about on a rock. The slug, looking up to see the bird descend upon him, cried out, “Mercy! I pray do tell me why must you come down upon me like this!”
“Because,” answered the bird gravely, “I am a bird, and you are a slug, and you are nice and plump. And I am quite famished.”
“But what does that mean?” questioned the slug, as the bird hopped closer.
“It means,” said the bird, “that you will be my breakfast.”
And he hopped closer still.
“But, but why?” cried out the slug as the bird leaned his beak towards him.
The bird, not yet being fully awake and feeling quite unused to such a question, paused mid-peck and thought to himself for a bit. Why must he eat the slug? Must he? The slug did seem to be a nicer-than-usual slug, that was certain. And they both were simply trying to go about their day in the way they both saw fit.
“Alright,” said the bird. “I will not eat you.”
“Oh, thank-you so very much good sir!” said the slug, and he slugged off.
Yet, the bird was still in need of breakfast.
Before long a worm came into view. Although it is commonly held that worms are the breakfast choice of birds worldwide, it was a stereotype this bird did not conform to. He did not care for worms, but he needed breakfast. He grabbed the worm with his beak but before he could chomp, chew, and swallow his breakfast the breakfast started cursing him loudly and profanely. The bird, his stomach slightly unsettled at some of the choice words utilized by the worm, dropped the worm from his mouth and took a step back.
“Excuse me?” asked the bird. He was after all, still waking up.
The worm had been awake for quite some time.
“EXCUSE ME? Is that all you have to say to someone you intend to murder?” The worm screamed angrily at the bird.
“Oh,” said the bird thoughtfully (he had never been called a murderer before). “Well I do apologize. You see I am looking to eat my breakfast and…”
“AND!” The worm screeched on, “And you thought I looked like your breakfast! Does your appetite justify cold-blooded murder? Murder! Murder! Murder!”
And he kept going on.
The bird, well near tears at this new idea that he might be considered for wormslaughter, took to the sky and tried to forget about the worm.
Yet, he still was in need of breakfast.
Desperate, he noticed an ant hill by the apple tree. While he had never tried ants before, he quite near starvation. It would have to be the ants or nothing. He made his descent and hopped over to the hill.
The ants, who had been working all night on their new hill, began to cry and make quite a scene when the youngest one pointed out the approaching bird. They were very tired and all they wanted to do was finish their hill and rest for a little bit. It was a Sunday, after all.
“Why, why are you all crying?” asked the bird, who was certainly awake by now and very close to becoming an herbivore.
“Because!” sobbed the littlest one, “we have been slaving away for our queen all night and now it will all go to waste when you eat us!”
And the rest joined him in shedding many tears.
“Well,” the bird said to himself, “I cannot do that to these poor souls. They are very innocent creatures. I must refrain from making them my breakfast.”
Instead, he went and gathered some leaves and sticks and helped hide their hill so that other birds might not find them. The ants all thanked him and wished him luck on his breakfast journey.
“Thank-you,” said the bird, very overwhelmed. “But I think I will be skipping breakfast. There just isn’t anything else for me to do.”
So he went and sat on a branch and watched the local farmer and his wife eat their breakfast through their back window.
All of the sudden, the farmer’s wife opened the back door, and placed a dish on the backyard fence. The bird, curious, flew down and alighted on the fence.
There on a little plate was a feast. Berries and bits of bread, and even a couple pieces of stale cheese (his favorite).
At last, the bird had found his breakfast.
Mercy is not a sign of weakness, but an investment into future grace.