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An Albanian




The Tale Of the Youth and the Eagle

 One day, a youth was hunting in the mountains, when an eagle flying above him alighted on top of a crag. The eagle was very large and carried a snake in its beak.

After a while, the eagle flew away from the crag where it had its nest. The youth then climbed to the top of the crag where he saw, in the nest, an eaglet playing with the dead snake. But the snake was not quite dead. Suddenly it stirred, and poised itself to strike the eaglet with its venom-filled fangs.

At once, the youth took his bow and arrow and shot the snake. Then he took the eaglet and started home.

Suddenly the young man heard above him a loud whirring of eagle wings.
"Why are you kidnapping my child?" cried out the eagle.
"The baby eagle is mine because I saved it from the snake which you failed to kill, " answered the youth.
"Give me back my child, and I will give you as a reward the sharpness of my eyes and the powerful strength of my wings. You will become invincible, and you will be known by my name."

So the youth handed over the eaglet. After it grew up and learned to fly, it was always to be seen high above the head of the youth - now a full-grown man, who, with his bow and arrows, killed many wild beasts of the forest, and who, with his sword, slew many adversaries. During all of these feats, the eagle faithfully watched over and guided him.

Amazed by the valiant hunter's deeds, the people of the land elected him king and called him Shqiptar which is to say 'Eagleson'. And his kingdom became known as Shqipėrie which in Albanian means Realm of Eagles.

But beyond that mountainous land, the Realm of Eagles is known as Albania, which means Land of Snowy Peaks.


(Adapted by Anthony Weir and Zana Banci
from a translation by Fehime Pipa and Van Christo.)


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