All the birds came together for a contest of strength: whichever bird was able to shake the great ebony tree would be declared the winner.
One by one, the birds grabbed the trunk of the enormous tree and tried to shake it, but they could not move the tree. Not a single leaf quivered.
Finally, the little hornbill said, "I'll make it shake!"
Then he flew up to the top of the tree, landed on one of the branches, and made the leaves shake by bouncing up and down.
"Behold!" shouted the little hornbill. "I am the strongest of all!"
[a Bulu story from Cameroon]
Inspired by: "Small Hornbill Proves That He Is Stronger Than the Other Birds" in Bulu Folk-Tales (in Journal of American Folklore) by George Schwab, 1914.
Notes: You can read the original story online. The tree referred to in the story is the "oven tree" or Didelotia africana, but I chose a more familiar tree.