‘You are a black swan,’ everyone said to her.
Born to the swan king and queen, she was the youngest of the brood. Minutes after her royal birth, everyone was overwhelmed with dismay and grief. ‘She will bring nothing but sorrow to her family,’ they declared.
Gradually, all of the ridicule became a part of her everyday jargon but that never deterred her from doing anything. She lived her life to the fullest, while everyone around her spent theirs discussing her.
Days passed and then years passed. From a chirpy little bird, she grew up to be a feisty and a confident adult. She was the most stubborn among her siblings, when it came to work being done or achieving something. Her arrogance for victory seemed useless to all others around her. All the other swans around her dismissed her efforts, undermining her confidence and her spirits. But she continued to grow and thrive, much like a lotus bloom in a marsh. Her world was indefinite, her spirits unbound. For she knew she had nothing to fear and nothing to lose. Each passing day, she was her own competitor in the long race in her mind.
It was the first day of the spring; a day of double excitement for the swan community. It was the day they had to choose among the royal siblings as the crown prince or princess. But nothing was easy for the royals – you had to prove your mettle in order to be crowned. The test itself was simple: fly as high as you can without having to stop. The one who makes the longest trip wins.
Tension was equally distributed among the royals as well as the locals, anticipating the win and the losses. Prayers were being chanted in silence in favour of the most desirable winner. No attention or good wish was wasted on the black swan.
But it was her day to soar high. Fearing nothing, she looked at her parents and moved on. The burning spirit was burning and shining, brighter than any other day in her life. She knew she had this lone chance of highlighting her abilities.
And thus the flight began. Tension among the swan folk soared high with the sound of flapping winds and grunts and moans. A long war of wings commenced among the siblings, one going higher than the other. Half the day was over and the emergence of the winner was becoming difficult by the minute. The audience was losing hope and the competitors were losing time. None of them had thought it would be this hard.
Much to their parent’s anguish, one by one the royal swans gave up.
At last there was only one pair of wings panning the sky. Dark, lustrous black wings were up and against the wind and aiming for the clouds. There she was, flying with her wings spread wide and open. She knew no fear and holding back. Siblings amused, crowd shocked and parents proud!
For the first of its kind in the community, the black swan was crowned the princess. She had the shown the world what it took to be the real winner in life. When ambitions are high, colour does not matter; the spirit of the heart does.
‘Yes, I am the black swan’. She flapped back…
Cover image © Nevit Dilmen