I only recently discovered that the wren has folkloric history that is quite special (and makes for a great bed-time story).
The Wren is referred to as the King of the Birds becuase many years ago some swallows returned from Africa and told the animals there that they had a king. “Couldn’t we have one as well?” they asked. The wise owl was consulted as to how one should be selected, and she said that what set birds apart was that they could fly (very wise!) so it should be the one that flew highest.
Chattering magpies spread news of the competition, and a great flock assembled. A small wren couldn’t see what was happening, so pushed her way through the legs of the birds from the back. The sharp eyed kestrel had spotted the eagle flying in from his mountain eyrie. They all knew he was a great flyer, but didn’t fancy being ruled by one with such arrogant ways. Contestants dropped out, feeling they had no chance against his great wings. The last call went out just as the wren pushed through to the front and stumbled into the starting place. The jackdaws laughed to see such a tiny competitor, but the wren said if no one else would have a go, then she would. Encouraged by the others, the race began, started by the boom of a bittern.
The eagle took one flap of his wings and was six foot in the air, whilst the wren had to take a running jump and flap for all she was worth to keep up. The eagle looked down his beak and took two more flaps, which took him to the height of a tree. The wren made a brave effort, cheered by those below who liked a plucky underdog. The eagle decided to finish off the contest there and then, and aimed like a dart for the clouds with his big powerful wings. But what was that on his back but the wren, who had caught up and was clinging on grimly. However the eagle twisted and turned, she was still gripping with her tiny claws, and thus flying higher. The birds acclaimed the wren the king, and the eagle headed back to his mountain in disgust, beaten by brains, not brawn.
There are a few other Wren folk stories such as the ‘Jenny Wren’ but I will save that for another day…