The Fossa & The Dodo (A Modern Parable)

The Fossa & The Dodo (A Modern Parable)

A Story by J.P. Paradise

'I never take myself too seriously, 'cause everybody knows fat birds don't fly.' - Fun Lovin' Criminals


Once upon a time, many, many year ago on the island of Mauritius, a fossa hopped off the tree trunk it had clung to crossing the hundreds of miles of ocean from Madagascar, and padded up the beach to take in its new surroundings. The fossa is a strange creature that looks part cat, part mongoose; a combination of which make it a fearsome predator. This fossa was very, very hungry after spending many days at sea and he wondered what there was around to eat. As he reached the shoreline he noticed a large bird flying overhead. This bird appeared a little ungainly, with a large beak and stubby tail but, despite this, it was a magnificent flyer. It also looked very tasty.

The fossa called up to the bird, "Hi there. What are you? You are certainly a splendid flyer.”

The bird called back, swooping low over the fossa's head, "I'm a dodo and am I not the most magnificent creature to grace the air that you've ever seen.”

The fossa, adept in flattery, conceded that this was indeed the case. "I have never seen another bird so at home in the sky as you.”

Performing several aerial manoeuvres of breathtaking skill and agility, the dodo flew low over the sand and then shot far up into the air until it was nothing more than a speck against the sun. As it almost disappeared from view it turned and came hurtling down faster than any creature had ever travelled. The very air around it seemed to shriek in protest at being pushed aside with great force. At the moment it seemed that the dodo must surely plummet deep into the sand it pulled up sharply, did a little pirouette  and then landed softly upon its feet in front of the fossa.

"I am," it said smugly, "simply the most accomplished flying bird upon this island, or even perhaps upon the face the Earth itself. What am I saying �" perhaps? Of course I am; there is none better than I.”

Now the fossa had heard a few braggarts in his time but none came remotely close to the dodo. He had never heard anyone so boastful and full of their own self-importance, especially not one that looked as edible as the dodo. He smiled to himself. 

"Well Mr Dodo, sir, I tip my hat to you. You are, without doubt, the greatest aerial acrobat to fly through the seven skies. But, tell me; what is the secret of your success? What makes you fly higher, faster, and with more skill and dexterity than any other bird? What gives you your strength, your stamina? Is it your diet? Tell me your secret, please do.”

The dodo puffed itself up a bit to make it look even more magnificent. "It is true that diet plays any important part in keeping me in good shape. I eat only the juiciest fruits from the tallest trees, the meatiest crabs from the warmest part of the sea, and finest shellfish from the sandiest shore. This gives me great strength in my wings, stamina in my muscles, and as a bonus makes my feathers shiny and manageable.”

The fossa appeared impressed. "If your diet provides all that, then surely the more you eat, the stronger your wings become, the greater your stamina, and your feathers will be so shiny they will reflect the very sun itself like a mirror.”

The dodo thought for a while. "Perhaps you have something there," it replied. "Obviously an inferior creature such as yourself is not normally capable of great ideas but I concede that even you must have some moments of wisdom in your otherwise mundane life. I shall try as you suggest and eat my fill of the juiciest fruits, the meatiest crabs, and the finest shellfish I can find.”

"Let me help you," said the fossa. "Two of us looking will be able to find twice as much one. It would be an honour to assist you in your quest to achieve ever greater…er…greatness."

"That's very kind of you," said the dodo and they both set about fetching the juiciest fruits from the tallest trees, the meatiest crabs from the warmest part of the sea, and the finest shellfish from the sandiest shore. The dodo began to eat what they gathered and soon it stopped searching altogether and kept eating instead, whilst the fossa ranged further and further across the island to find the very best foods for the dodo to consume. After a while the dodo belched, broke wind and said, "I think that's probably enough for now.”

"Do your wings feel any stronger? Can you feel the stamina in your muscles? Do your feathers gleam?" asked the fossa.

"Not really," said the dodo, "in fact I feel a bit sick.”

"That's because you haven't eaten enough," cried the fossa. “I’m sure your flying skills have increased but I’m sure we can do even better. Let me bring you even juicier fruits and even meatier crabs and even finer shellfish.”

"Oh, alright then," the dodo burped, “I shall be magnificent, I shall be unsurpassed,” and it ate and it ate and it ate. As it ate its body grew bigger and bigger and rounder and rounder, whilst its wings shrank shorter and shorter. The fossa brought comestible after comestible and the dodo kept eating and eating. Its body kept growing bigger and rounder, rounder and bigger; its wings become shorter and stubbier, stubbier and shorter until they were almost merely stumps.

"I think it is time to put this experiment to the test," said the fossa. "Let's see you fly. Fly higher, faster and longer than you have ever flown before.”

The dodo belched loudly, broke wind even louder, and stretched what remained of its wings. It flapped pathetically for a bit then hopped around a little, neither of which got it remotely airborne. Finally it tried to make a running take-off but quickly came to a stop, wheezing and panting breathlessly.

"I can barely move," it complained. "I can't fly and I can't even run. I'm useless," it wailed.

"Oh, not completely useless," said the fossa gleefully, "for you'll make the finest lunch a hungry fossa could wish for." 

And with that the fossa ate the dodo, sighed contently, and slept happily upon the sand.

© 2021 J.P. Paradise

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Added on July 19, 2021
Last Updated on July 19, 2021
Tags: dodo, fossa, parable, flight


J.P. Paradise
J.P. Paradise

Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Occasional writer, serial procrastinator.I write tales that are sometimes comedic, often tragic, and nearly always very dark. Bad things happen to good people, even worse things happen to bad people.. more..