Once upon a time, that ‘s how all true stories begin…
Once upon a time there was a little bird.
Summer had been plenty, warm, and colourful, and now the autumn wind was ruffling the countryside. The little bird loved riding those winds from tree to tree and from field to field. By night it huddled deep into a nest to keep warm. By day it danced through the gardens until it’s belly was full. Then it rose up, up beyond the trees. The sky was high and clouded, and you could see very far.
The little bird longingly watched the horizon, where the river was lost in the distance.
“Oh, to be big and strong like the stork… Then I could go to warmer lands instead of getting cold and hungry in the winter” thought the little bird. But it did love his lush garden, especially the old tree that held its nest. There was plenty to eat and water in abundance. The garden was spacious and wild, big lilacs and rhododendron alternated with rose bushes and perennials. Several giant old trees granted their shadows to the hydrangeas and pansies.
There was a house, too. Not too big, not too small, just right.
There was a dog kennel and a cat flap, an old bicycle, and an ancient car under a leaky roof. And there was the woman. Sometimes the woman would walk through the garden, look at everything, smile, talk to the plants and choose some flowers to carry into the house with her. Once she had been talking to the little bird, but it had been too shy to answer. It had been avoiding the house since then.
Until this day.
The day had started with bright sunshine, but then a deep black cloud front rolled in, and the inhabitants of the garden became restless. The little bird used the commotion to fill his belly with insects. It danced through the air and got caught by surprise by the first strong gust of wind. A loud bang, a bright flash and a squall that threw the little bird straight into the kitchen. It hit the wall and fell to the floor as if dead.
When the little bird came to again,
it was sitting in a soft nest made of cloth, in front of it a little cup of water and a small bowl with a few grains in it. One wing was hurting, and it tried to move it. “Let it be, little friend. It has to heal!” Said a deep voice suddenly. The dogs head, huge from this close up, appeared over the nests rim. The little bird jumped, but the big dog talked soothingly about the woman that would help and the cat that was kind and did no harm to anyone. The exhausted little bird fell asleep again.
When it came to for the second time,
it was still in the soft nest, the big black cat sitting right in front of them. Those big bright eyes seem to look right into his quivering heart and the little bird was very scared. “Relax, little friend, you are safe here!” Purred the cat. She pushed the bowl of grains a bit nearer to the little bird and drew herself back. She did not talk any more, just lay down beside them, purring, until they fell asleep again.
When it came to for the third time,
the soft nest of cloth was rocking gently, and it heard the woman’s voice singing softly. “Hello little friend, are you feeling better?” She interrupted herself, watching the nest on her lap. They were sitting in the rocking chair by the chimney, dog and cat lying side-by-side on the rug, the storm still raging outside. The little bird looked around. The white walls were full of luminous paintings and several shelves were bending under the weight of many books. The bright furniture was comfortably covered in soft rugs and colourful cushions. The kettle hummed on the stove and a fragrant soup was bubbling in a pot.
It was warm, airy and peaceful.
The little bird said, “thank you”. The woman smiled and stroked its back gently. “Always a pleasure, little friend. Who falls into my kitchen and needs help can always count on me. And now sleep yourself to health, little one. I will sing for you.” And she did. Her singing filled the whole room like sunrays and the three animals basked in it.
In time, The wing healed and the little bird danced through the air again.
But outside the weather had been getting colder and the garden woke up each day under white frost. The woman had nailed a tiny basket to the wall in the kitchen and put the soft cloth in it. The animals shared a water bowl and grains fell plenty from the breadbasket. The little bird caught all the flies that found themselves trapped in the house, and if there was a flea annoying the dog or the cat, the little friend took care of it. It slept well in the new nest, chatted with the big friends, and loved the evening hours full of songs and stories.
In the bright sunny winter days, they took a stroll in the garden together.
The little bird flying, the dog beside the woman and the cat up the trees and under the bushes. Sometimes the woman left for some hours. Sometimes the little bird spent the afternoon flying outside alone, or the cat prowled through the night. But in the evening the woman always lit the candles, and they sat by the chimney, together, singing and telling stories.
When the days grow longer and warmer again the little friend moved outside again, into the old nest in the garden. Every day it would visit the friends in the house, and the cat often sat with them on a branch.
But whenever the weather got wild, and during winter, they lived together in the house.
The little bird did not long for the horizon anymore and it said time and time again: “Oh, how good that I am not as big and strong as the stork but just small enough for the little basket on the kitchen wall!”
Heartfelt, wherever you are,