There once lived a very small bird in a very small pond on a very small farm in a very small town in a very small kingdom on a very small island on a very VERY large ocean that covered most of a moderately sized planet that circled a rather unimpressive star along with several other floating bits of jetsam and stardust.
This bird was born the same way every other bird was excepting the ways in which it was completely different. His shell was not smooth and egg shaped as others were. I suppose it was technically egg shaped in that it was definitely an egg and it had a specific shape. Instead of the standard egg shape his egg shape was lumpy and came to a point at the thin end. If his egg was an animal it would be a toad wearing a dunce cap.
For the longest time after being laid, this very small bird, let’s call him Gerald, just sat curled up inside his dunce cap wearing toad shell and focused all his energy on growing. Once he was mostly bird shaped he stopped to think. As he was inside a rather peculiar shell he couldn’t just grow to fit it. He’ld end up looking like a very silly bird indeed. He didn’t quite know what sort of bird he was going to be, and as not many baby birds get to choose just how they will grow, Gerald knew he had to make very careful decisions about what he would do.
Gerald pondered and pondered. “Well, since I’m a bird I’m going to need wings to fly, but what kind? “ as he thought he turned over and over in his shell and realized that inside of his shell was sort of like underneath the water. He knew this because inside of his brain there was a little notebook full of many things his mother and father new before they decided to make an egg. His mother and father were very different types of birds as well. They weren’t different from other birds, just from each other. Perhaps this was why Gerald, in his mottled misshaped egg, was so different from all other baby birds in their nice regular shells.
As Gerald wiggled his stubby wing shaped armlets around he decided that he was going to spend an awful long time in this shell and when he got out he would probably be sick of floating around in water. “I think the air will be where I want to spend my time, and since I’m such a special kind of bird I should try and see as much of the world as I can. I remember my mother having very pretty wings but not going anywhere outside of her little house and yard. My papa had big strong wings but he only hung around the forests long enough to fatten up and sleep through winter. I think I’ll grow long thin flying wings with extra feathers just in case.” He focused on his little stubby armlets and thought about soaring over the land and seeing all kinds of new creatures and places. Gerald realized he would need really good eyes if he was going to see all those new things from so high, so he thought about those too.
Once he had a good start on those he kicked the two nubs that stuck out near his bottom. “Hmm, I suppose feet come next. After all, you can’t go on long adventures if you can’t land when you finally get there. Mother had wide flat feet for paddling around in puddles when it rained. Papa had tough gnarled feet for running fast and fighting off vermicious knids. I would like to be able to spend some time in the water, I might miss being so floaty and light. Hmm... but I don’t want to be caught totally off guard if some terrible mean thing tries to make me into dinner. I wonder if there’s a way to mix them together and have tough swimming feet.” Gerald though about all the ways he could combine them. It was hard o figure out. He finally decided that a small swimmers foot with long toes and a spur on the back of his ankle would work best. That way he could have gripping toes and still paddle around if he found a particularly nice puddle or pond.