birds and short stories Archive

THE PHŒNIX N the top of a palm tree, in an oasis of the Arabian desert, sat the Phœnix, glowering moodily upon the world below. He was alone, quite alone, in his old age, as he had been alone in his youth, and in his middle years; for the Phœnix has neither mate nor children, and there is never but one of his kind upon the earth. Once he had been proud of his solitariness and of his unusual beauty, which caused such wonder when he went abroad. But now he was old and weak and weary, and he was lonely, oh! so lonely! He had lived too long, he thought. For years and years and years, afar and apart, he had watched the coming [&hellip

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THE TUFTED CAP NE dark night Master Owl left his hollow tree and went prowling about the world as usual upon his hopeless hunt for the Princess’s betel-nut. As soon as he was out of hearing a long, lean, hungry Rat crept to the house and stole the dainties which the lonely old bachelor had stored away for the morrow’s dinner. The thief dragged them away to his own hole and had a splendid feast with his wife and little ones. But the Owl returned sooner than the Rat had expected, and by the crumbs which he had dropped upon the way tracked him to the hole. “Come out, thief!” cried the Owl, “or I will surely kill you. Come out and return to me [&hellip

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THE THRUSH AND THE CUCKOO N the wonderful days of old it is said that Christ and Saint Peter went together upon a journey. It was a beautiful day in March, and the earth was just beginning to put on her summer gorgeousness. As the two travelers were passing near a great forest they spied a Thrush sitting on a tree singing and singing as hard as he could. And he cocked his head as if he was very proud of something. Saint Peter stopped at the foot of the tree and said, “I wish you a good day, Thrush!” “I have no time to thank you,” chirped the Thrush pertly. “Why not, pretty Thrush?” asked Saint Peter in surprise. “You have all the time [&hellip

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SISTER HEN AND THE CROCODILE HE Crocodile is one of the hungriest bodies that ever lived. When he is looking for a dinner he will eat almost anything that comes within reach. Sometimes the greedy fellow swallows great stones and chunks of wood, in his hurry mistaking them for something more digestible. And when he is smacking his great jaws over his food he makes such a greedy, terrible noise that the other animals steal away nervously and hide until it shall be Master Crocodile’s sleepy-time. He is too lazy to waddle in search of a dinner far from the river where he lives. But any animal or even a man-swimmer had best be careful how he ventures into the water near the Crocodile’s haunts. [&hellip

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THE DOVE WHO SPOKE TRUTH HE Dove and the wrinkled little Bat once went on a journey together. When it came towards night a storm arose, and the two companions sought everywhere for a shelter. But all the birds were sound asleep in their nests and the animals in their holes and dens. They could find no welcome anywhere until they came to the hollow tree where old Master Owl lived, wide awake in the dark. “Let us knock here,” said the shrewd Bat, “I know the old fellow is not asleep. This is his prowling hour, and but that it is a stormy night he would be abroad hunting.—What ho, Master Owl!” he squeaked, “will you let in two storm-tossed travelers for a night’s [&hellip

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THE BLACKBIRD AND THE FOX NE day Madame Fox, who was strolling along under the hedge, heard a Blackbird trilling on a branch. Quick as thought she jumped and seized the little fellow, and was about to gobble him down then and there. But the Blackbird began to chirp piteously:— “Oh, oh, Madame Fox! What are you thinking of? Just see, I am such a tiny mouthful! And when I am gone—I am gone. Only let me free and I will tell you something. Look! Here come some peasant women with eggs and cheese which they are carrying to the market at Verrières. That would be a meal worth having! Only let me go, and I will help you, Master Fox.” The Fox saw that [&hellip

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THE EARLY GIRL HERE were once two girls who were very dear friends, Zaïca and Tourtourelle. One morning Zaïca woke up and said, “O Tourtourelle! Last night I had such a strange dream!” “And so did I!” cried Tourtourelle. “Let us tell each other the dreams. But you first, Zaïca.” Zaïca began to laugh. “I dreamed I was a pretty bird with a tuft of feathers on my head. I could fly, and, O Tourtourelle! it was great fun! But the most amusing thing of all was that I could sing so finely, and mock all the birds of the forest. Nay, I could even imitate the sounds of animals. I cannot help laughing when I think what a jolly time I had.” “Why, Zaïca!” [&hellip

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WHY THE NIGHTINGALE WAKES HEN the other birds are sound asleep in their nests, with their little heads tucked comfortably under their feathers, Sister Nightingale, they say, may not rest, but still sounds the notes of her beautiful song in grove and thicket. Why does she sing thus, all night long as well as through the day? It is because she dares not go to sleep on account of the Blindworm, who is waiting to catch her with her eyes closed. Once upon a time, when the world was very new, the Blindworm was not quite blind, but had one good eye. Moreover, in those days the Nightingale also had but one eye. As for the Blindworm, it mattered very little; for he was a [&hellip

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THE PIOUS ROBIN “Art thou the bird whom man loves best, The pious bird with the scarlet breast, Our little English Robin?” Wordsworth. HE English Robin is not precisely like our little American friend whom we call by that name, although, as the lines of poetry quoted above will show, in two ways he is the same as ours: he has a red breast, and he is the bird whom every one loves. Of all the little brothers of the air, in every land and clime, the pretty, jolly, neighborly Robin Redbreast is the favorite. There are many stories about him: some which tell how he came by his scarlet breast, others which explain why he has always been best beloved of the birds. I [&hellip

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THE MASQUERADING CROW HE Crow became very sour and disagreeable after his friend the Peacock’s cousin deserted him for more gorgeous company. Though he pretended not to care because the Pheasant was now a proud, beautifully-coated dandy, while he was the shabbiest of all the birds in his coat of rusty black, yet in truth he did care very much. He could not forget how the Peacock’s cousin had dyed him this sombre hue, after promising to paint him bright and wonderful, like himself. He could not help thinking how fine he would have looked in similar plumage of a rainbow tint, or how becoming a long swallow-tail would be to his style of beauty. He wished that there was a tailor in Birdland to [&hellip

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