The Defensive Owl
Once, someone decided that they would start mocking an owl because of all the features that made her stand out from other birds. They started listing them – one-by-one. Instead of just accepting that this was the way she was, she tried to justify them and refute them with a witty and rational argument each time.
-What a big head you’ve got! You’re a big-head
-You should see how big Zeus’ head is, answered the owl.
-Look at your big ol’ blue eyes
These blue eyes are like the blue eye of the goddess Athena
And your voice is sad, mournful and screechy, not pleasant, at all!
The crow’s voice is even worse, answered the owl, yet again.
My goodness… what spindly legs you have!
Yes, my legs are like that, but what do you think of the starling’s legs?
Listen here, know-all, all the others have only got one of these flaws each. You’ve got them altogether and to a great degree, my big-headed owl, with your big ol’ blue eyes and screechy, moany voice and spindly legs!
The owl stumbled for an answer.
St Gregory the Theologian:
Let’s not justify ourselves like the owl with seemingly reasonable arguments or witty retorts, when others show us our faults. Neither should we react with astounding words and a tongue full of objections. “The eye sees the other, whatever is foreign to it, it doesn’t see itself, and if it is really sick it doesn’t even see other things either. One hand needs the other hand, and the foot needs the other foot” (St. Gregory the Theologian). Each of us needs an adviser so that we can gain true knowledge of ourselves and then go on to correct our own flaws, because we will have to answer for ourselves and not for others.