(I’ve never been able to identify an author for this story, and have taken the liberty to modify it over the years.)
Once upon a time in the long, long ago the Eagle and the Turkey were very good friends. Everywhere they went these friends went together. It was not uncommon for people to look up and see the Eagle and the Turkey flying side by side through the air.
One day while flying, the Turkey said to the Eagle: “Let’s drop down and get a bite to eat. My stomach is growling.” “Sounds like a good idea to me,” replied the Eagle. So the two birds glided down to earth, saw several animals eating, and decided to join them. They landed next to the Cow. The Cow was busy eating corn, but noticed that the Eagle and the Turkey were soon sitting on the ground next to her. “Welcome,” said the Cow. “Help yourself to the corn.”
This took the two birds by surprise. They were not accustomed to having other animals share their food quite so readily. “Why are you willing to share your corn with us?” asked the Eagle. “Oh, we have plenty to eat here. Mr. Farmer gives us all we want,” replied the Cow. With that invitation, the Eagle and The Turkey jumped in and ate their fill. When they finished, the Turkey asked more about Mr. Farmer. “Well,” said the Cow, “he grows all our food. We don’t have to work for the food at all.”
“You mean,” said the Turkey, “that Mr. Farmer simply gives you all you want to eat?” “That’s right,” said the Cow. “Not only that, but he gives us a place to live.” The Turkey and the Eagle were shocked! They had never heard of such a thing. They had always had to search for food and work for shelter.
When it came time to leave, the Turkey and the Eagle began to discuss the situation. “Maybe we should just stay here,” said the Turkey. “We can have all the food we want without working. And that barn over there sure beats those nests we have been building. Besides, I’m getting tired of always having to work for a living.”
“I don’t know about all this,” said the Eagle. “It sounds too good to be true. I find it hard to believe that one can get something for nothing. Besides, I kinda like flying high and free through the air. And providing for food and shelter isn’t so bad. In fact, I find it quite challenging.”
Well, the Turkey thought it over and decided to stay where there was free food and shelter. But the Eagle decided that he loved his freedom too much to give it up, and enjoyed the consistent challenge of making his own living. So, after saying good-bye to his old friend the Turkey, the Eagle set sail for the unknown adventure.
Everything went fine for the Turkey. He ate all he wanted. He never worked. He grew fat and lazy. But then one day he heard the farmer’s wife mention that Thanksgiving was coming in the next few days and it would be nice to have roast turkey for dinner. Hearing that, the Turkey decided it was time to check out and rejoin his good friend Mr. Eagle. But when he attempted to fly he found that he had grown too fat and lazy. Instead of being able to fly, he could only flutter. So on Thanksgiving Day the farmer’s family sat down to roast Turkey.
When you give up the challenges of life in pursuit of “security,” you may give up your freedom.
There’s always free cheese in a mousetrap — Old Proverb