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Design inspiration - the Legend of the Wren, King of Birds


Do you know the legend of the wren? It was the inspiration for one of my designs - the wren pendant you see in the photo.


The wren is one of my favourite little birds. Such a tiny little thing, and well camouflaged but with a voice that could fill a stadium. Spending its time in shrubs and undergrowth, it's more often heard than seen. However, in this design the wren is prominent and proud - and for a good reason. According to British folklore the wren earned the title "King of Birds" by way of a combination of cunning and cleverness.


The legend tells of the day that the birds decided to hold a contest to determine their king. The contest involved a challenge to see which of them could fly the highest. Few small birds bothered to compete, after all the eagle was a confident favourite. As the contest began, the eagle flew up into the sky, higher and higher, passing all the other birds on its way. After passing the last visible competitor the eagle, having reached it's greatest altitude, became exhausted and so began to descend. At that point, the wren, which had hidden within the eagle's plumage, flew upwards thereby beating the eagle. The wren sang loudly, "I am king, I am king".


The eagle didn't accept the win, arguing that it had used its own great strength to soar, but the wren argued back saying that wits were as valid as brute force. The small birds cheered, but the larger birds insisted upon a second challenge. This time the contest was to find the bird which could swoop the lowest. The hawks were sure the winner would be one of them. However, the wren saw a tiny mouse hole and swooped into it, being below the ground, once again singing "I am king, I am king!"

The hawks were as furious as the eagle and vowed never to accept the wren as king and to hunt it down and kill it. The wren stayed in the mouse hole as an owl kept watch on behalf of the hawk and the eagle. When the sun rose in the morning, the owl was temporarily blinded by the light and the wren escaped to hide in the undergrowth where, to this day, the wren lives. Still in fear of the hawks and eagles, but still King of the Birds.


So, in this pendant the wren has a background of the bark of the trees it lives among, along with a flower representing ground level and a hawthorn berry and other berries

to represent the small trees and shrubs from which it sings its song. But the wren itself is shown proud and prominent, for it remains the "King of Birds".





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