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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Bird King of Africa African Folktale

African Folklore Story

Bird King of Africa African Folktale tells the story of the first and only meeting of African birds to choose their king.


The birds of Africa wanted a king. Men have a king, so have animals, and why shouldn't they? All had assembled to choose a bird king to rule all of Africa.

"The Ostrich, because he is the largest bid in Africa," one called out.

They replied "No, he can't fly."

"Eagle, on account of his strength."

Smallest bird in Africa, the penduline-tit whose name was Tink
Tink is a tricky bird
They replied "Not he, he cannot sing."

"Vulture, because he can fly the highest."

They replied "No, Vulture is too dirty, his odor is terrible."

"Peacock, he is so beautiful."

They replied "His feet are too ugly, and also his voice."

"Owl, because he can see well."

They replied "Not Owl, he is scared of the light."

And so they got no further. Then one shouted aloud, "He who can fly the highest will be king." "Yes, yes," they all screamed, and at a given signal they all ascended straight up into the sky.

Vulture flew for three whole days without stopping, straight toward the sun. Then he cried aloud, "I am the highest, I am king."

"Ha-Ha-Ha," he heard above him. There the smallest bird in Africa, the penduline-tit whose name was Tink, was flying next to him. Tink had held fast to one of the great wing feathers of Vulture, and had never been felt, he was so light. "Ha-a-ha-ha, I am the highest, I am king," piped Tink.

Vulture flew for another day still ascending. "I am highest, I am king."

"Ha-Ha-Ha, I am the highest, I am king," Tink mocked. There he was again, having crept out from under the wing of Vulture.

Vulture flew on the fifth day straight up in the air. "I am the highest, I am king," he called.

"Ha-Ha-Ha," piped the little fellow above him. "I am the highest, I am king."

Vulture was tired and now flew direct to earth. The other birds were mad and decided Tink must be punished because he had taken advantage of Vulture's feathers and there hidden himself. All the birds flew after Tink and he had to take refuge in a mouse hole. But how were they to get him out? The birds decided someone must stand guard to seize Tink the moment he pokes his head out of the mouse hole.

"Owl must keep guard; he has the largest eyes; he can see well," they exclaimed.

That night owl went and took up his position before the hole but in the morning the sun was warm and soon owl became sleepy and fell fast asleep.


Tink peeped his head out of the hole, saw that Owl was asleep, and zip away up into the trees. Shortly afterwards the other birds came to see if Tink was still in the hole. "Ha-Ha-Ha," they heard in a tree; and there sat the little cheating Tink. Still to this day Tink’s can be heard singing and laughing at the funny trick he pulled on the other birds.


African Folktale Bird King

African Folktale facts

African folktales usually have sly animals and spirits as the main characters.

Anansi is one of the most beloved African folktale characters. He often takes the shape of a spider and is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories.

Reading African folktales will help kids make connections to their cultural heritage.

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