Mocking Bird sat on the topmost branch of a tall pine tree. He looked at the barnyard below and the bright green lawn. “I am above all that!” he boasted to himself. “Not like those fat chickens pecking in the dirt for their supper. I catch mine on the fly! I am light as air and have the loveliest voice in the world. Just listen!” And he gave a long, melodious warble of song.
Mother Robin, sitting on her nest thought it beautiful, and Papa Robin answered the greeting with his own melody.
Mocking Bird tried out Papa Robin’s song and repeated it three times. “See!” he called to the red breasted bird, “I can sing your song as well as my own. And make it sound better as well!” Papa Robin said nothing, for he knew it was true.
From the other side of the pine tree came a bright and cheery song; quite loud and boisterous as a redbird added his voice to the conversation. “Helloooo, see me, see me!”
A nest full of sparrow babies had been chattering all the while and now chirped even louder for Mama Sparrow had returned with a fat worm.
Mocking Bird listened to all the birdsong below him. “Enough!” he cried. “You are giving me a headache! I decree that you will never sing again!” A silence fell over the trees and bushes. No sound was heard, no cheery notes floated on the breeze. “Hmmph!” thought Mocking Bird, “that’s better! Now everyone can hear MY song!” And he whistled and sang and bounced up and down on the very tip top of the pine tree.
“Who likes my song?” he called to the trees around him. “Who thinks mine is best?”
But no one answered him and he looked closely to see if the birds were gone. No, there was Mama Robin sitting on her nest. And he saw a flash of color as Red Bird flew from branch to branch. But no one sang. Mocking Bird tried not to miss the songs around him and he sang long and loud to fill up the empty spaces.
Two weeks went by. Mocking Bird was lonely. Mocking Bird was a little tired of his own song. “Surely I do not miss those chattering sparrows or that loud Red Bird!” he thought to himself. But he finally had to admit it was true. He WAS lonely and he DID miss the songs of his neighbors. “How can I make them sing again,” he wondered.
Then, he had an idea. He began to sing again, but it was not HIS song he sang. It was THEIR songs. One by one, he sang Robin’s song, then Red Bird’s song, and he even clucked like the hens and chattered like the sparrows. Over and over he sang their songs.
And, one by one, they joined in. Quietly at first, so they wouldn’t make him angry. But when he jumped up and down on his branch and answered them back, they began to sing more loudly. And soon the trees and bushes around the farm were filled with happy tweets and whistles as Mocking Bird’s friends found their voices again.
Could this be why Mocking Bird still sings their songs?
c.2011 Donna Swanson