The Magic of the Eagle-Owl
When researching obscure fairy tales, I discovered multiple references to something called the "eagle-owl" which I'd never heard of, and wondered if it was, in fact, a mythological bird.
Turns out that they're real. They're huge and are found throughout Euroasia so I decided to weave them into the mythology of whatever it is that I'm doing with this series and created a story exclusively about the eagle-owl.
Synchronicitially, I learned that very recently an eagle-owl escaped from the zoo in New York City.
Eagle-owls are real and they are living among us.
The Magic Eagle-Owl
In the heart of Louisiana, nestled deep in the bayou, lived a young boy named Everard Duval. He lived with his aging grandmother in a small camp on the edge of the marshland, surrounded by the sounds of bullfrogs and cicadas. The other children in the nearby one-room schoolhouse would make fun of him for not having regular parents and also for his worn clothes and shoes.
Everard was a quiet boy, with a shy smile and big brown eyes that always seemed to be looking for something. He loved spending time in the bayou. He felt a deep connection to the water, the trees, and the animals that called it home. He would often sit by the water's edge, watching the sunset over the horizon and listening to the sounds of nature.
One day, as Everard was wandering through the bayou, he heard a strange noise. It sounded like a cross between a hoot and a screech. Curious, he followed the sound until he came across a magnificent bird perched on a tree branch. It had a wingspan wider than Everard was tall, and its feathers were a striking mixture of brown and white, with piercing yellow eyes that seemed to stare right through him.
"Hello there," said Everard, taking a step closer. The bird didn't move but continued to stare at him with those intense yellow eyes.
"That's an eagle-owl," said a voice behind him. Everard turned around to see his grandmother walking towards him, a small smile on her face.
"An eagle-owl?" repeated Everard, turning back to the bird.
"Yes, I've never seen one in real life before," said his grandmother, coming to stand beside him. "My Hungarian great-grandmother would tell me stories about them. She showed me images of them in an old fairy book. They are said to be magical and powerful. I wonder what it's doing all the way out here."
The eagle-owl turned its head slightly as if to acknowledge them. Everard felt a strange sensation in his chest as if the bird was trying to communicate with him.
Over the next few weeks, Everard spent every spare moment he had with the eagle-owl. He would bring it bits of food, and they would sit together by the water's edge, watching the world go by. In time, the magnificent bird began to talk to him in a robust and powerful voice.
The eagle-owl was a majestic creature, with piercing yellow eyes that seemed to look into the depths of one's soul. Perched near Everard, the eagle-owl would tell the boy stories about far-off places and the adventures it had had in its travels. The magnificent bird had flown from a faraway land, seeking refuge from human hunters and the encroachment of civilization.
Everard would tell him about his life in Louisiana and his troubles at school and with his classmates.
"You are a brave young man, Everard," the eagle-owl would say, "and one day, when you are grown, you will go out into the world and achieve great things."
Magical as he was, the eagle-owl could grow in size, allowing Everard to climb onto his back. The two friends would spend hours together in the bayou, exploring the winding waterways and hidden groves. Sometimes they would even venture out into the open sea, soaring high above the waves and feeling the wind rush through their feathers and hair.
One afternoon, as Everard was leaving the general store near his school, he overheard a group of hunters discussing their plans to shoot the eagle-owl. "No one has ever seen such a magnificent bird before," one of them said, "and we could make a fortune selling its feathers and talons."
Everard's heart sank. He knew that he had to warn his friend, the eagle-owl. He hurried back to the bayou, and when he found the bird, he told him everything. The eagle-owl was sad, but he knew that he had to leave Louisiana. His new home was becoming too dangerous, and he needed to find a safer place to live.
"I must move to fairyland," he said, "but I promise that I will come back and visit you, my dear friend."
Everard was heartbroken but knew he had to let the eagle-owl go. As the bird took to the sky, soaring high above the bayou, Everard could feel tears in his own eyes. He took comfort in the memories of their nurturing friendship, and he knew that the eagle-owl's belief in him had given him the confidence he needed to live a successful life.
Years passed, and Everard grew up to be a successful businessman. He had left the bayou to pursue his dreams, but he would often think back to the days when he and the eagle-owl would soar above the waterways and explore the hidden corners of Louisiana. Sometimes he would even go back to the bayou, hoping to catch a glimpse of his old friend.
One day, as he was walking along the banks of the bayou, he heard a familiar sound. It was the sound of the eagle-owl's distinctive cry. Everard looked up, and there he was, soaring high above the water, his wings outstretched and his eyes gleaming in the sun.
Everard felt a rush of emotion. He'd come to fear that he would see the eagle-owl again. The bird flew down to him, landing gracefully on a nearby branch.
"Hello, my dear friend," the eagle-owl said, "I promised that I would come back and visit you, didn't I?"
Everard's heart soared. For a few moments, the two old friends sat together in companionable silence, watching the sunset over the bayou. The eagle-owl told Everard about his adventures in fairyland and how he had helped to protect other creatures from harm. Everard listened intently, amazed at the incredible life his friend had led.
As the night sky grew dark, the eagle-owl bid his final farewell to Everard. He promised to watch over him always, even if he could no longer be by his side.
With a heavy heart, Everard watched as the eagle-owl soared back into the sky, disappearing into the darkness. He knew that he would never forget the lessons his friend had taught him and that the eagle-owl would always hold a special place in his heart.