In the far isles, where the sea wind shapes the people brave enough to live there, once lived a beautiful young woman who came from the sea. 
One dark winters night, a storm was crashing the waves ever closer to the stone dwellings nearby. The cottage closest to the shoreline was disturbed by wailing unlike ever heard before. An old lady lived there with her husband. Awoken by the wailing, she wrapped a heavy woollen shawl around her, lit an oil lamp and leant her head outside into the storm.
There, amongst the marram, was a tiny baby, naked and wailing. The woman, aghast, scooped the baby up in the shawl, and brought her inside next to the glowing embers of the hearth.
The next morning, as the woman was out fetching water to wash the baby, she noticed a bundle of what looked like fabric covered in sand and seaweed near to where she had found the child the previous night. She picked up the soaking bundle, and took it to the sea to wash it clean. As she placed it in the water, she realised it was the pelt of a large seal. She couldn’t believe her luck - seal pelts were worth their weight in gold, but it was the superstition of the area that it was bad luck to kill a seal unless it was the hardest of times. She decided to take the pelt inside the house to dry, and it was kept hidden away in a kist until any such hard times were to befall them. 
The woman and her husband were childless, after many a misfortune. After that fateful night, they took this tiny, beautiful baby girl with eyes like coal in as their own. They told their neighbours that they believed that the baby must have been washed ashore after a shipwreck, but no sign of the ship was ever found. They secretly wondered of the whispers of stories almost-forgotten - that sometimes, when the seas were rough, selkies lost sight of their young, and they could be washed ashore as human babies. 
It did not matter to them, though - they raised this baby girl as their own, and she grew up to be a strong and beautiful young woman. She spent long days out on the boat with her father, and was somewhat of a lucky charm in catching fish. Her mother and father never told her the stories of selkies, in the fear that she would abandon them, or be driven to madness. Despite their best efforts, she had a yearning for the sea that she could not explain in words, and in the warm summer evenings she would spend hours swimming, with only the gulls for company.
One such evening, she was diving amongst the sea-kelp searching for shells. As she dived, out of nowhere a huge seal with spotted skin and deep eyes which seemed to stare into her soul appeared alongside her, effortlessly gliding in graceful movements. Instead of being afraid, she was overcome with a sense of complete joy. Hours were spent swimming with the seal, and the longer she swam, the more she forgot about her life back on land. Eventually though, she began to shiver from the cold as night fell. She said goodbye to the great seal, and rushed back to her home.
Her parents were asleep already, so used to their daughter being out late swimming. At this point she was overcome with heaving shivers across her whole body, and suddenly remembered the seal pelt in the kist. She knew it was a prized possession not to be touched, but as a child she used to secretly stroke the heavy, sleekit pelt and was now overcome with the feeling that this would be the only way to warm her body. 
As she put on the spotted pelt, she was instantly warmed, but also overcome with the deepest, indescribable sadness. The smell of the pelt on her skin felt like a hug from a mother, but not her human mother that she knew. The familiar home she had happily spent her entire life suddenly felt like a prison, and something ancient inside of her told her to leave. She leant over her sleeping mother and father, kissed their foreheads, and fled into the sea. 
There he is, a little wren. With his perpetually perked tail pointing to the sky, a visual reminder of the folklore surrounding him. The king of the birds, the little bird who outwitted all the rest.
Birdkind needed a new king - and how best to choose than a contest of flight? One bird from every species clamoured together, and decided the rules. Whichever one of them managed to fly the highest would win, and rule over them all.
As all the birds readied themselves for flight, each looked to the other in trepidation, sizing each other up. Who would be the victor?
Falcon was well known to be the fastest of all the birds, one that no other could dream of catching - or escape. But then again, there was Eagle - at least three times as big, and yet still quicker than most of the birds. Perhaps eagle would have the advantage of strength and speed in such a challenge? Whilst the birds murmured amongst themselves, one little bird didn’t join in.
Wren had decided he would become king today.
As the birds were distracted, chattering at the start line, wren weaved amongst them, until he reached the largest of the birds. They were silent, readying themselves for the challenge to begin. There was eagle, alone and proud. The birds stood as far away as they could from eagle - partly out of fear, but also out of respect. Wren had never been so close to an eagle before - it would usually be much too dangerous. He crept as close as he dared, and peered up at Eagle’s glossy brown and white feathers, bright yellow beak and razor sharp talons. Just for a moment, envy overcame fear.
The warning call for the challenge sounded - the ringing cry of a Bellbird. Wren nestled himself just underneath Eagle’s tail feathers. As soon as the race began, he planned to latch on and hope for the best. As the second warning call sounded, wren watched eagle tense up, readying himself to fly. The third, final call sounded, and eagle leapt into the sky, the power of his great wings almost knocking wren aside. Thankfully, he managed to latch on at the final moment, and up they went.
It felt like it was over before it began. Falcon indeed reached the highest point far before Eagle, but he had gone too quick, too soon, and fell down to land in utter exhaustion. Eagle barely flinched as Falcon fell past him, and continued on his upward journey to victory. It seemed to wren that they were flying to the Gods, and feared they would collide with the sun if Eagle flew any higher. Just as Wren began to fear for his life, Eagle gave one final push with his wings, and abruptly began to fall back down to the ground. This was his chance! Wren released himself from Eagle’s tail feathers and fluttered just a few feet higher than eagle had been, before he too fell back down to earth, terrified for losing his life if he went any higher.
As he reached land after what felt like eternity, the Birds were waiting for him in a great circle. Some, like Eagle and falcon, looked ready to tear him into shreds. Others, like magpie and raven, known for their cunning and deceit, looked at him in awe.
Owl stepped into the circle, holding a tiny crown of hawthorn branches in his beak. He hopped over to wren, and carefully placed the crown atop his head. The rules were the rules after all, and wren had indeed flown the highest of all the birds.
A moment of silence passed, before owl screeched, “All hail, the King of the Birds!”

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