One of my readers, Sackerson, a fellow member of the Martin Scriblerus group, sent me a link earlier today to a marvellous story for the day after Christmas, ‘King of the Birds in Ireland’.

In Ireland, December 26 is referred to as St Stephen’s Day rather than Boxing Day. In Kerry, a boys’ parade takes place every year remembering the King of the Birds.

This is an instructive story for young and old. It begins like this:

On the south coast of Ireland is a secret green wooded valley which faces the blue sea. Among the animals of Ireland it was known as Glen-na-hEan – the valley of the birds – because that is where the birds of Ireland meet from time to time to discuss and organise their affairs and sort out any problems they might have.

Now the most important time they ever met was when they came together to choose their king. On this occasion all the trees in the valley were lined with birds of all kinds. There were little birds like the redbreasted robin and the tiny wren, medium-sized birds such as the wood pigeon and the white dove, the crow and the black and white magpie and of course the bigger birds such as the cormorant, the seagull and the golden eagle with his fierce eyes and razor sharp claws.

The birds discussed the matter all day and late into the night.

But they could not agree as to who should be king …

Find out who won. You might be surprised!

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