They say he did it because he asked to sit by an innkeeper’s fire one night and was denied with a lie. The innkeeper said that there was “not enough fire” to warm the man who was dressed in rags and filth. He appeared to be a beggar, but he was not a beggar. He was a warlock. And he was none too pleased by the innkeeper’s response. It was no surprise that he should cast a curse. What was surprising was that he did not just cast the curse on the innkeeper himself, but on the innkeeper’s entire country.
When he was young and heard the stories of the mythical birds and flying beasts of legend, he imagined himself as one of them. Powerful, ferocious, graceful, wise, and heroic. He imagined that one day, he would grow up to be like Phoenix, with its flaming wings and healing tears. He dreamed of being like Quetzlcóatl, worshipped by the two-leggers who otherwise ruled over all other beasts. When he heard the stories of Garuda, he was Garuda, flying the ancient gods to and fro on their quests. The thunderbird. The trickster raven. The creator heron known as Benu.
He was in awe of them all. And he wanted to learn to acquire their qualities. Cleverness, strength, knowledge. And wings so magnificent that all creatures great and small were gripped with awe at their sight.
But whenever he would voice such longings, he was always ridiculed, for he was so small that all who knew him called him the flea bird, and soon that became his name, “Flea.”