At the edge of the pond stood a vain peacock. He reflected in the water and marveled at his own beauty for hours.
“What a magnificent creature I am. The golden feathers, the bright colors – no other bird is nearly as beautiful as I am!” the peacock murmured, self-absorbed.
Suddenly, he was jolted out of his thoughts by a loud noise. A crane had landed in the pond right next to him and was striding through the water with long strides.
“Hey, you ugly bird! What kind of noise are you making here?” scolded the peacock. But the crane remained completely undeterred and continued to search the pond for something edible.
“And how do you look anyway? All gray and dirty. And then those long legs and that awfully long neck. You are truly no beauty. Especially not compared to me!” the peacock shouted.
Now the crane stopped and slowly raised its head. Somewhat astonished, he looked at the scolding peacock.
“Look at me: I am the most beautiful bird of all. I can do a motley wheel that you would pale beside. And what can you do? Nothing!” continued the peacock.
Then the crane took to the air and replied, “You’re right, peacock. You are a colorful bird and much more colorful and magnificent than I am. But you know what? I can soar high into the air and fly out to the horizon. I carry freedom in my wings and can look at the world from above. You, on the other hand, are just a pretty chicken who will stay on the ground forever and be gawked at by everyone.”
The vain peacock realized how wrong he had done the crane. He still tried to apologize to him, but the crane was already up and away.