In South East Asia lies an island called El Nido. The island had a cliff that was known to be home to a nature fairy or what the locals call “Diwata”. She was quite famous and revered by the local townsfolk and she was known to have helped many pilgrims who came to see her for their problems.
Naleed was a traveler from the West. He came to the island to find Diwata. He camped for several days on the cliff until one night a beautiful woman appeared at the foot of the cliff. He knew instantly who this woman was.
"Why did you come to see me?" Diwata spoke gently.
"I have done my best but it seems that my wife is never happy. And there is no real joy in her eyes. How can I make her happy and prove my love to her?" He said.
In a matter of seconds three eagles flew by their side.
She began to take three loaves of bread of equal size and left them by the foot of each eagle. After doing so she told them that she wanted for them to go and find the most beautiful flower and to show her this flower.
The first eagle looked at Diwata as if in amazement, and nudged her with its wing before it happily took the bread using its beak. The eagle spent much of his time eating it. It flew behind her occasionally perching on some branches but did not fly away.
The second eagle put his beak to her mouth as if to kiss her, took the bread and flew away in search of the flower. It took him an hour before he came back to show her a beautiful white rose.
The third eagle looked carefully at what the first two did and did the same as the first and the second. He did not take the bread. He flew and was gone for almost one day. It returned with a dozen white roses.
Diwata began to speak. "Now tell me Naleed, who among the eagles do you think loved me the most?"
Confidently Naleed answered, "The third eagle no doubt! It gave you more affection and it traveled far and wide to give you the best, even giving you more than what you asked for. Doing this without asking for anything , any bread in return."
He went on excitedly, and with much certainty. "The second eagle was affectionate too , he kissed you and brought you back a lovely flower. He may not have as much love as the third eagle but definitely showed more love than the first.
"The first eagle was too busy eating your bread and he did not even try to look for a flower. He did not do what you had asked him to do. I doubt if he even feels any love for you."
Diwata smiled. “Ahhh! My dear Naleed… That is where you are mistaken.”
"The one who loved me most was the first eagle."
Naleed was dumbfounded.
"The third eagle refused the bread not because he is capable of loving without anything in return, the eagle wanted to prove to the two others that he does not need it. He kissed and touched me because he saw what the others did and wanted to compete with them. He searched far and wide to bring me many flowers to prove to himself that he can do better than the first two. All the things he did had nothing to do with loving me."
"The second took my bread, left and came back quick -- He did exactly what I had asked and he felt good about it. He did not look for the most beautiful flower because he was more preoccupied with time and getting the job done. Like the third eagle, all these things had nothing to do with loving me."
"The first eagle loved me the most. And his love was the truest."
"Why do you say this?" Naleed said
"It took him awhile to eat the bread because he savored it and in savoring it I felt appreciated."
"He did not fly away because he saw the snake behind me , in fact they all saw it! But only the first eagle was able to guard me. I felt safe."
"He touched me with his wing because he wanted to show me his desire without having to force himself on me. He knew that there will be many days when he can kiss me, and caress me but for now, he needed to know me first. I felt respected."
"When he did all these things for me, I was touched immensely. When he looked into my eyes. I found joy. I did not need to see a flower."
Naleed, still confused interrupted, "What does all that have to do with the flower?"
"He didn't have to search for a flower Naleed..." she said.
"He paid attention to the things I said, and what I did not say. He gave me what I needed instead of what I wanted. He listened , he saw me, and with that he found his way to my heart. I blossomed inside."
"When he looked into my Soul, that was enough for me to realize that the most beautiful flower he saw was ME."
With that she disappeared, and so did the three eagles.
Naleed packed his bags and left. He quickly traveled back to his wife with comfort in his heart, finally knowing the answer to his question.
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