The Bird and the Whale

There was once a bird that loved a whale. And a whale that loved a bird.
The bird loved the whale’s beautiful smile. He loved how she swam elegantly in the water.
The whale loved the beautiful white feathers of the bird. She liked to look at how he rose toward the sky.
During the summer, the bird and the whale were found in the bay. They talked and talked. They talked about the moon, the waves, and the ships in the ocean.
The bird told jokes that made the whale laugh. The whale sang beautiful songs that made the bird cry.
“One day you could meet my family in the ocean,” said the whale.
“And you could meet my friends on earth,” said the bird.
Everything was perfect.

But the world doesn’t stop spinning just because a bird and a whale fall in love. Summer was transformed into autumn, and autumn became winter. The ocean became cold, and all the whales departed toward warmer waters.
“Come with me where there are warm waters,” said the whale. “It is a wonderful place. It is always warm, and there are plenty of fish to eat.”
“I love eating fish,” said the bird. “And I love being with you. I’ll follow you anywhere. But first, teach me to be a whale.”
“So!” the whale said. “Follow me!”, and he dipped into the water.
“OK!” said the bird, and he also immersed himself in the water.

He submerged deeper and deeper. “I’m swimming!” he laughed. “I am a whale!”
But soon he couldn’t breathe and returned gasping at the surface. The bird tried and tried and tried to swim, but ran out of breath each time.
“I don’t think a bird can be a whale,” the bird said. “Better come with me. I live up on the cliffs. It is a wonderful place. It is warm and cozy, and every morning you can see the sunrise.”
“I love watching the sunrise,” said the whale. “And I love being with you. I’ll follow you anywhere. But first, teach me to be a bird.” “So!” the bird said. “Follow me!”, and he broke his wings and rose up in heaven. “OK!” the whale said. She closed her eyes with force and beat her fins like the bird.
Fluttering and fluttering, up and down. Salt water everywhere. “I’m flying!” she laughed. “I am a bird!”
But when the whale opened her eyes, she was not rising in the sky. She was still in the water. She tried and tried and tried to fly, but she couldn’t.
“I don’t think a whale can be a bird,” the whale said.
“You can’t fly and I can’t swim. Where can we live together?” the bird said.
“We’ll stay here — on the waves!” the whale said.
But the bird shook his head sadly.
“You love swimming deep in the ocean,” he said. “That’s what you like to do most. You will never be happy here.”
“And you love to fly and plan in the sky,” said the whale. “That’s what you like to do most. You won’t be happy here either.”
And then, as the bird and the whale loved each other so much, they said goodbye.
But they never forgot each other. Every time the whale looked at a bird flying high in the sky, she thought of her bird. She hoped that he would be enjoying the skies that way. And every time the bird saw a whale deep in the ocean, he thought of his whale. He hoped that she would be enjoying the ocean that way.

This story is written by Emily Couture, and it’s really bittersweet, because, as you may have read, the bird and the whale have to get separated because they can’t adapt to their beloved’s natural habitat. It’s been so long since I found such a touching short story.


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