It was 7am on a freezing December morning. The moon was full in the sky and the crisp snow looked deceptively beautiful
An old woman came out of the house ladened with bird food. She closed the house door behind her as she wanted to keep what little warmth there was inside the house. She was wrapped in layers of clothes. The countryside on all sides of the house was white and the ground underneath the snow and ice was frozen. The wind was starting to blow and the snow was beginning to fall. Softly and silently.
A blackbird perched on a branch and as the old lady walked by the blackbird said
‘Will you throw some bird food on the ground and under the bush for me’
‘No’ said the old lady
‘Please’ sang the blackbird
‘If I put the bird food on the open ground and inside that bush the rabbits, pheasants and pigeons will eat the bird food. I cannot afford to feed all them.
The blackbird replied
‘Tell the rabbit to go and eat the bark from the trees. They can do that I have seen them. The pheasants can go home and eat the corn there. They will survive without this bird food and so will the pigeon.
I am weary and tired and weak. The ground is hard and I cannot get any worms. I depend on the food you put out. Please
the old lady replied ‘ I cannot. I am nearly out of bird food and cannot get to the shops to buy any more as the snow is too deep. I have to put this bird food inside the meshed ground feeder. Then nothing large can eat the bird food.
‘But today I will die if I do not get any food’ Whispered the blackbird sadly.
‘Well’ replied the old lady ‘I managed to save your life last winter by giving you lots of bird food. . You have gained one year due to me looking after you. I find it hard to look after myself at the moment. I am running out of coal and I am tired.
The blackbird said ‘ But you cannot be tired. You are magical to us. Your kindness and the way you feed us through the winter is told in our blackbird history. It has been passed down through the years. We learn about you when we are in our nest as baby birds’
The old lady laughed. ‘Well’ she said ‘ As a blackbird only lives about 3 years and I have been feeding birds for 25 years those stories will go back to your great, great, great – Oh I can’t be bothered to get it right as to many bird generations will have been told about me’
Please put a little bird food down there for me’ whispered the blackbird’
The old lady cried ‘The rabbits, pheasants and pigeons are waiting. Look can you see them in the shadows. I am going to put this bird food inside the caged bird feeder. Goodbye blackbird. I am tired and cold and have got to get some wood from the shed and bring it into my house.
TO BE CONTINUED