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The Fatherless Birds

Category: Romance and Tragedy

Source: Laos Folk-lore Of Farther India

A mother bird sat brooding on her nest. Her heart was sad, for her mate
had flown away in the morning and had not returned. When the little ones
stirred and clamored for food, with drooping wings she flew in quest of
it that they might not hunger.

Day after day her heart grew sadder, for her mate came not, and alone
she struggled to provide for her fledglings.

When the little birds had grown strong and were able to fly, sorrow and
heart hunger had so weakened the mother bird that she lay dying. The
little birds crowded about her asking what they could do to aid her, and
with her dying breath she cried, "Call, oh, call your father."

The little birds, flying low over the plains, cried, "Paw hueey, paw
hueey," and children, left alone in their homes, while their parents
labor in the rice fields, hearing the wail of the birds, wept, crying
too, "Paw hueey, maa hueey."[8]

Never has the father bird been found, and, to this day, flying low over
the plains, the little birds cry, in their plaintive voices, "Paw hueey,
paw hueey," and lonely children echo, "Paw hueey, maa hueey."

8: Paw hueey--Oh, father! Maa hueey--Oh, mother!

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