The Grackle and the Sun
by Mike Mayak
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The draws for the February 2023 Flash Fiction Draw challenge were an Aesop’s Fable, set on or near the Sun, involving a vintage T.V. set.
There once was a Grackle who made his home in an old console television set that was sitting abandoned in an overgrown lot outside of town. He lived in the base of the old wooden cabinet where he had built his nest and from time to time would hop to the top shelf where the old tubes had been but now there was just an empty space with the big glass screen on one side. The birds and other little animals who frequented the lot could see him through the screen and of course got the wrong ides.
“He’s a wonder!” said a squirrel.
“He’s a king!” said a mouse.
“He’s a god!” said a pigeon. “For he sits in the same temple the people in the houses gather around to listen to the Oracle tell the future. Saying ‘Here are some exciting scenes from next week!’”
The Grackle knew he was just another bird. Nonetheless, he told the other animals to bring him seeds and berries and place them by the opening in the console.
Now one day, a parrot flew into the lot. He had recently escaped the pet store and had heard a flock of wrens discussing the Oracle.
“Where have you come from, strange green bird?” asked a rabbit.
“From the Sun,” said the Parrot, who had lived in the well-lit pet shop. “Where it is daylight and warm and never cold all year round. And where there is always food. And where you can see more of the world than even from the temple of the Oracle here.”
This interested the Grackle, who waited until the Sun was high in the sky and then flew upward, heading for the Sun, flying higher than he ever had before.
To his amazement, instead of getting warmer, he was getting colder. Soon his wings began to ice over and the air became thin and he fell back to earth, cushioned by a bramble bush which did not protect him from stray cats.
The other animals spent so much time gathering berries and seeds to place in front of the temple of the Oracle they forgot to eat and soon wasted away.
The moral is: it does not always pay to get too close to a star.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: And I am proud that I made it through this without once referencing the old T. V. cartoon.
You mean, like titling this “Aesop and Sun?”