Hameed and the Long-Legged Stork
Hameed was a very intelligent and cheerful boy. He was very interested in birds and wanted to get to know all of them well. He somtimes looked after birds in his house, but later let them go. He took great pleasure in their free lifestyles. One morning in spring, Hameed saw a flock of long-legged birds all flying together and right away he went out onto the terrace of his house to watch them more closely. When he got outside he saw that two of these birds had landed on the chimney and he was very happy to see them. He waved and called out to them:
"Hello, I'm Hameed. Who are you?"
"Hello, Hameed. I hope we're not giving you any trouble by landing here. We'd like very much to talk to you and get to know you," said one of the pair.
"By all means," said Hameed: "I love all birds very, very much. Can you tell me a bit about yourselves, please?"
"Of course," replied the first bird. "We are storks. We are migrating birds with big snow-white wings between 3.5-5 feet (one and one-and-a-half meters) long and long black tails. It is the red color of our beaks and our long legs that give us such an attractive appearance."
Hameed agreed. "You really do look lovely!"
"What people notice most about us is our flying style," continued the stork. "We fly with our beaks stretched forward and our legs stretched out behind. This makes us able to fly much faster by using the air."
Hameed was curious, "And where are you traveling now?"
"Every year we migrate in large flocks, Hameed, because we can't live in cold places. In doing this we also bring people the good news that warm summer days are on the way. During the summer we live right across a huge area that stretches from Europe to North Africa and from Turkey to Japan. When the weather starts to get cold we migrate to the southern hemisphere, to tropical Africa and India."
Hameed was puzzled, "But how do you know when the weather begins to get colder?"
The stork smiled: "That really is a very good question. Of course, the answer is that Allah taught us. All at the same time we feel a need to move to warm countries. Allah makes us feel that. It is Allah Who shows us the way to fly, and when fall comes again He makes sure we can return over a distance of thousands of miles and find our old homes again. It is Allah with His inspiration Who teaches us all these things."
"It really is very interesting that you can travel such long distances and return and find your old nests without making a mistake, as though you had a compass in your hands," said Hameed, impressed.
The stork went on, "Of course this kind of powerful memory and wonderful direction finding ability are the result of Allah's supreme creation, Who gave them to us."
Hameed had another question for his new friend, "You live close to human beings, don't you?"
"Yes," replied his friend. "We make our nests on the roofs of houses. And we build nests on the top of trees and chimneys..."
The other stork then stood up and said, "Sorry, Hameed, we have to be on our way again."
Hameed watched his new friends grow smaller and smaller as they flew on their way.
There is no creature crawling on the earth or flying creature, flying on its wings, who are not communities just like yourselves–We have not omitted anything from the Book–then they will be gathered to their Lord. (Surat al-An'am, 38)