Very often we can glean symbolic meaning from stories, myths and parables. The peregrine falcon has tons of symbolic lessons for us. This is a neat story to illustrate how a parable can serve as a powerful message. It also illustrates how the majestic falcon reminds us of our own potential majesty.
The Parable of the Peregrine Falcon
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away lived a king who received two peregrine falcons as a gift. This was a very honorable offering as the falcons were exquisite, and would make noble companions as the king hunted his royal grounds.
The king passed the falcons off to his gamekeeper and instructed him to train the raptors for the next hunt. The gamekeeper set about training the two peregrines. One bird performed exceedingly well. However, the second bird excelled not at all. In fact, the bird never moved off its branch!
The gamekeeper was flummoxed, so he recruited the advice of an avian expert. After inspecting the bird who would not fly, the expert diagnosed it as perfectly healthy and sound. He was baffled as to why the bird would not fly.
Left with no other choice, the gamekeeper approached the king and told him about the flightless falcon. Never turning down a good challenge, the king sent out an announcement to every village, town and rural residence within the kingdom. He offered a high reward to anyone who could make his grounded falcon take flight.
Hundreds came to surmise the flightless falcon. Some tried luring the bird off its branch with bits of meat. Others chanted and sang in hopes to inspire the bird to fly. Still others poked at the bird (which was a big mistake as the falcon bit the fingers that poked at it!). After many days of challenges and many disappointments, all attempts to prompt the raptor to fly off its branch failed.
One day, an old woman from the furthest outreaches of the kingdom came forward. Since she kept to herself, cloistered in her small hovel, few residents in the kingdom knew anything about her. She was weathered, disheveled and smelled faintly of bog water and the people snickered at her while whispering to themselves “What does that crazy old woman think she can do?”
As the old woman approached the falcon, she drew out a wicked-sharp blade from the folds of her garment. The crowd gasped. Would she kill the king’s falcon!?
Hardly! She used the blade to hack off the branch the falcon had been stubbornly sitting upon all this time. In a flash, the falcon’s wings unfurled, and flew off into the skies with stunning glory, grace and power.
The king marveled over the sight and asked the strange, old woman, ‘Woman, how did you know? How did you know my falcon would take flight if you cut the branch?‘
Some Questions the Parable of the Peregrine Falcon Asks
Lessons from the Falcon and the Old Woman
- Is complacency limiting my progress?
- What motivates me to excel and succeed?
- How can I break the spell of lackluster limitation?
- What kind of reminders can I heed about my potential?
- What have I forgotten about my divine, authentic self?
- Are my comfort zones prohibiting my expansion & development?
- Am I buying into judgments or labels others have placed upon me?
- Do I value myself enough to confidently accomplish wonderful things no matter what others think or say?
These are just a few questions this peregrine parable prompted me to ask. What kind of symbolic messages comes up for you in this story?
By the way, if the falcon really seizes your attention, maybe this regal bird can serve as a source of inspiration for you. Take flight into a few symbolic suggestions for the falcon here.