The Tale of the Eagle

From Academic Kids

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The flag of Albania features an eagle.

The Tale of the Eagle is an Albanian folk tale that explains how Albania and Albanians received their indigenous name.

A youth was hunting in the mountains. An eagle flying above him alit on top of a crag. The eagle was especially large and had a snake in its beak. After a while, the eagle flew away from the crag where it had its nest. The youth then climbed to the top of the crag where he saw, in the nest, an eaglet playing with the dead snake. But the snake wasn't really dead! Suddenly it stirred, revealed its fangs and was ready to pierce the eaglet with its deadly venom. The youth quickly took out his bow and arrow and killed the snake. Then he took the eaglet and started for his home. Suddenly the youth heard above him the loud whir of the great eagle's wings.

"Why do you kidnap my child?" cried the eagle.

"The child is mine because I saved it from the snake which you didn't kill," answered the youth.

"Give me back my child, and I will give you as a reward the sharpness of my eyes and the powerful strength of my wings. You will become invincible, and you will be called by my name!"

Thus the youth handed over the eaglet. After the eaglet grew, it would always fly above the head of the youth, now a grown man, who with his bow and arrows killed many wild beasts of the forest, and with his sword slew many enemies of the land. During all of these feats, the eagle faithfully watched over and guided him.

Amazed by the valiant hunter's deeds, the people of the land elected him king and called him Shqiptar, which is to say Son of the Eagle (shqipe or shqiponj is Albanian for eagle) and his kingdom became known as "Shqipria" or Land of the Eagles.

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An eagle with a snake in the Mexican coat of arms.

The eagle with the snake is a widespread motif of myth. It appears independently in Babylonian mythology and in the coat of arms and flag of Mexico after an Aztec legend on the founding of Tenochtitlan.

See also Totemism


This article contains information from ( and it is used with permission. Translated into English from Albanian by Fehime Pipa and Van Christo.

It has also been known to historically been used long before the Mexican civilization when Illyrian warriors who fought with Alexander the Great. Another is because of the Byzantine Empire.

The Albanian flag and its origin

Gules, a double-headed eagle sable. The eagle goes back to George Castriota, an Albanian Christian who became a Turkish general in the 15th century under the name of Skanderbeg. He later returned to the Christian faith and led the fight of the Albanians against the Turks in the 1440s. He used the Byzantine two-headed eagle on his seals, hence the modern flag. The modern flag had at various times a helmet or a star above the eagle. The star gules lined or dates from the Communist takeover in 1946 and has recently been removed.

The double-headed eagle has a longer history. Indo-European people as well as Illyrians used it. This was long before Byzantine was created. Illyrian warriors who fought for Alexander used it. You can find the eagle in parts of Asia where Illyrian warriors who were fighting for Alexander settled and created cities, modern at that time.


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