The old lady slowly turned away from the blackbird and walked towards the ground feeder – holding the different bags of bird food tightly in her hands. Then she stopped and slowly turned around to look at the blackbird who was sitting sadly on a branch.
‘Wait’ shouted the old woman. ‘ I know what we can do. You can sit on my hand and eat the bird food from my hand.
‘I can’t do that’ said the blackbird ‘We blackbirds know never to touch a human.’
” I won’t hurt you. Said the old woman. ‘You must know that’.
‘Five and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. We blackbirds have an ancient knowledge that humans put blackbirds in pies and eat them! Our law is that we never touch a human – they may catch us and put us in a pie!’
‘Such a stupid blackbird’ shouted the old woman as the wind and snow blew around her. ‘ Have I wasted all these years feeding stupid blackbirds. I offer you a chance of life and you say your law forbids it. Well I tried. Goodbye
‘You said you could not get us any more bird food. Are you short of money?’ asked the blackbird.
‘How do you know about money’ said the old woman who was so surprised that she had to ask the question.
‘My town cousin told me’
‘You have a blackbird cousin in the town.’ The old lady slowly walked towards the meshed ground feeder as she was talking.
Yes,she watches people, and knows the word ‘money’. She is fat and well.
Why don’t you go and join her then.
‘SUCH NONSENSE’ squawked the blackbird – trying to get the energy to shout. ‘I am a country blackbird. You will never find me in a town. SUCH NONSENSE me in a town. I could ask you why you don’t go and live in a town. All I need is some bird food.’
I am freezing cold out here’ sighed the old woman. ‘I must go inside and get warm. I need my breakfast and a warm cup of water . I am not going to argue with you. I do not have much bird food left. I do not have much moneyand I cannot get to the shops anyway as the road is thick with snow. I am going inside. You should fly to your cousin in the town.
The blackbird found the effort to reply ”NEVER. I will live and die a country blackbird. I was born and will die in your garden.
‘So be it’ whispered the old lady.
The blizzard became fierce and swirled around her, pushing her this way and that. She clutched the bird food in her hand and let it fall through the wires of the meshed ground feeder. sparrows, blue tits, dunnocks, chaffinches and robins flew like the wind inside the feeder and started eating.
‘Stupid Blackbird’ whispered the old lady ‘ are you still here.
I have an idea that may save you
She started walking towards her door and the safety of her home when she tripped. She tried to regain her balance but the wind gusted around her and helped to push her to the ground. As she fell into the ice cold snow her head hit a piece of wood (it was the remains of an old birdtable that had fallen down and she did not have the energy to move).
It seemed to be happening in slow motion. For a moment the old lady tried to crawl towards her front door, but unconsciousness came and stopped her. As she lay unconscious in the snow the snow fell more thickly and fiercely and started to cover her in a pure white blanket of snow.
TO BE CONTINUED