Greed is a possession that loses sight of the big picture.
Just as the lion was tearing a hefty piece of meat from the bone and was about to devour it with gusto, the earth began to tremble. One of the terror birds had picked up the scent of the meat. The unicorn, aware of the danger, levitated immediately to get the prince out of harm's way. The prince got a good view of the terror bird and could not help but admire him secretly. He was big and strong, and he was intimidatingly beautiful. The giant bird carried the colors of summer meadows in his feathers and his majestic neck was fanned by a feather ruffle. The giant, well-fed bird, with a beak as sharp as the point of a rapier, landed a blow on the head of the emaciated lion weakened by hunger and made him stagger. The lion was weak, much too weak to defend his booty. A stab into the lion's neck from the tip of the bird's beak would inevitably have meant death. The lion knew he didn't stand a chance in this battle and so it ended as it always did. The terror bird ate the bone and the lion crawled away defeated and hurt. Once again the terror bird had proven his sovereignty. Nobody barred his way. He was the greatest.
The terror bird's all powerful size made the sun prince wince. And since size was a sore point in Aron's life, the little prince asked himself : "What does he have that I don't have?" Only to answer himself immediately: "It's his height which makes the terror bird, (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) in contrast to me, unassailable."
And as if she had read his thoughts, Miss Monti said: "It's not being big, but having greatness. True greatness (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) is a matter of the heart. It has nothing to do with body size." "For me it does," thought the prince. He was a ruler and used to things big and great.
As the unicorn, together with the prince and Miss Monti, fled the scene under cover of low-hanging clouds, Miss Monti espied a huge terror bird colony casting nets on a murky ocean. They pulled bulging nets from the sea with the most beautiful fishes who were begging for their lives. The fishes gleamed in colors of turquoise, orange, red, and yellow, but all their beauty was of no use to them. The giant birds emptied the nets and piled up the fishes high on the shore. Then they fell over them and devoured them one by one. Their gluttony was boundless. They rubbed their bellies, fought over one or the other fish and reveled in a jolly good time together.
"The terror birds are even eating the sea empty (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) . Just look at this, Monti, now they are slurping up the sea water to boot. " The prince rubbed his eyes in horror. The gorging binge was followed by a guzzling binge.
With shrieking clamor, the terror birds ran to the edge of the beach. There, where the rocks began, was a mountain of tree trunks. Each one grabbed a tree trunk, then they formed a long bird chain along the beach and placed the trunks like straws against their beaks. The tree trunks were apparently hollowed out for the birds soaked up the sea water into the inside. With each gulp the water table of the sea sank lower. After this especially sumptuous meal the terror birds gave no sign of pausing or even stopping. They guzzled and guzzled and prided themselves for taking not a single break. They even made a bet on who could gulp the longest without gasping for air. The sea was not yet filled with ill foreboding. But when the terror birds betrayed no thought of putting the tree trunks away and continued drinking, it became alarmed. The sea reared and six white horses competed in flinging their manes of foaming aquatic crowns around. They made their entry pulling behind them carriages decorated with wreaths of sea weed and assorted sea plants. Poseidon's and the mermaids' faces bespoke sheer panic. Their minds were fixed on one goal only. Away from here before the sea ceased to exist!
"We'll be back. Our heart remains here," the water nymphs promised. The sea wept. It couldn't just walk away. It loved its inhabitants, the fishes, the water sprites, and water nymphs. The sea had to stand by and see all those who could walk flee the scene.
"Isn't there something in this world that can stop the terror bird?" the prince called out horror-stricken. He felt the suffering of nature in his heart.
"Such misery," sobbed Miss Monti. "This must be the land of misery. By the way, how do we know we've chosen the right way?" the cat asked in desperate hope that they could leave this place.
"The angel sent us the rainbow. Only angels can build this kind of bridge," the unicorn chimed in.
"Angels never lead us down the wrong path," the prince assured the cat. "This must be the right way."
The prince held on tight to the unicorn's neck for they were still riding through the air. He didn't want to crash, for the wind, who normally rummaged unhurriedly behind them, was getting all worked up about the reign of the terror bird.
"Who gives you the right to exterminate the fishes," he thundered in his grumpy way at the terror birds. "And who gives you the right to destroy the habitat of the sea dwellers? Who do you think you are that you dare to disturb the peace of god's creatures?"
As he was speaking, the wind spirits rose ever higher causing the wind to turn into a storm. Seeing that, the terror birds immediately put down the tree trunks and made their getaway. There was nothing they could do against the wind for they had long lost their ability to fly; for this they were much too fat. For the first time, they were annoyed about not being able to fly. But from whom should they have been fleeing. To the world at large, the gray world between seemed a forgotten place. Thus the terror birds were the overlords.
"Where in the world does this blown up storm come from?" they wondered. Never before had a storm lost its way and wandered in here. Let him go back where he came from. The terror birds considered how they could combat the wind. Their nets were long gone. The storm had carried them away so the birds couldn't catch the wind.
The wind roared: "If only I had come earlier, then the sea would still be here!"
"You can't be everywhere at the same time," the terror birds mocked him. Hearing that, the wind became unstoppable. He twisted and turned into a whirl. Now he resembled a spinning top, pointed at the bottom and wide at the top. In between it blustered, howled, whistled, roared, whirled, and raged. The wind's strength intensified with his ire as he kept the insatiable terror birds in his sights. Fit to be tied over so much brazenness, his indignant wind spirits charged ahead without needing to be whipped into action. The prince and the cat on the unicorn whirled dangerously through the air. Everything around turned until Aron lost sight. The danger of a crash was great for the prince was caught in the midst of the raging air spirits. He held on tight to the unicorn and called desperately for help, but the wind didn't hear anything. Once his ire was up, he could not be tamed until his wind spirits calmed down, and that could take a while.
Monti too screamed: "You're our friend. Don't cause a mishap. Come down, otherwise we'll be down before you!" The unicorn stretched its front legs straight out as if doing so it could put the brakes on the wind's fury.
"Moderation, for god's sake, we are crashing!" the prince shouted with all his might. Just then it seemed to the wind that he was hearing a little voice. And since he paused, the unicorn was able to escape the next wind gust. It caught itself and then continued to ride through the air as always. The first thing the prince did was check his pockets. He noticed with relief that the energy sphere and the ballerina were in their place. The prince grumbled: "Are you completely out of your mind? You should have known we were in the air!" The cat too was beside herself: "We could have crashed. You're so impulsive."
The wind took a leap as if he was coming from another planet. "Where have you come from?" he asked confused. Whenever the wind forgot himself, his spirits raged out of control.
"That's what we would like to ask you," said the prince.
"I came to the aid of the wounded lion and breathed on his wounds so they would heal faster. Thus I saw too late what the terror birds had wrought. But I can't be everywhere and the lion needed my help."
Fortunately, the wind had calmed down so the prince was able to go on floating leisurely on his unicorn. The cat called out: "See there, this is what it looks like when the wind is angry!"
The prince and the cat looked down and discovered a clearing the wind had cut in a nearby forest.
"Fly back," the prince told the unicorn. "I want to see what became of the terror birds."
"Reluctantly. I fly reluctantly near the terror birds," confessed the unicorn. Still, it obeyed the prince's command. Aron and Miss Monti held their breath. They saw them walking along the beach. Some of them had burst on the cliffs. None had escaped the wrath of the storm. But the surviving terror birds were dragging the dead behind them and were piling them up on the beach. That seemed to be a custom among the terror birds. Piled up on the beach were mountains of fish, tree trunks, and now the dead relatives. But one thing had changed totally and seeing it from above, a cold shudder ran down the prince's back. There was no more ocean. It was as if the earth had swallowed it up. The prince caught the wind by his beard just in time and looked into his hysterical eyes.
"Please don't get all worked up. Not again and not now. We have to move on. Please stay with me, you promised," the prince asked his companion. "The right moment will come for your return to avenge this ruthless devastation."
Reluctantly, the wind refrained from carrying out his design. After the unicorn and the prince had gained enough distance, the wind could not restrain himself from making a little display of his power. He once more vented his indignation with booming force. When the storm subsided, the dead giant birds lay again strewn over the beach and the prince noted that there were more of them than before.
Finally they flew on. Again, fog obstructed the view. It seemed to the prince then that he saw indistinctly a figure that reminded him of his mother. "This can't be," the prince reassured himself. It was clear to him that his eyes were playing tricks on him. But his heart sounded the alarm, first disbelieving, than increasingly stronger until he couldn't bear it any longer. He had to penetrate the fog in order to recognize the figure.
"Could you do down just a bit?" the prince asked the unicorn with trembling voice and eyes which he didn't trust.
"It is dangerous. The terror birds could pick up your and Miss Monti's scent." Nevertheless, the unicorn lost some height. next