Two sparrows flitted through the bushes and trees looking for something yummy to make a feast out of. Not easy being a bird, having to eat your weight in seeds and berries every single day. Luckily, here in the valley birds were spectacular and highly praised as backyard visitors. The best place for finding a treat was behind the baker’s house at about mid day.
Mid day was when the baker, Bob Brown, took the great wooden paddles and took the pies out of the oven, and if there had been no mistakes he could look at the baskets of berries brought in all during the season from the Lloyd Berry Farm each evening before closing. If there was no need to keep all the berries, as the pies were perfect and the baking was done, the remainder was put on a red pedestal in the back.
The bushes were teeming with birds of all kinds. For a good hour wave after wave of winged songbirds, blackbirds in all sizes, pretty tiny birds and the very plain sparrows and chickadees picked at the berries. Last were two sparrows who had been too busy talking with each other to muscle their way in. There were two cherries left. enough for such small birds, they had already eaten seed from the bird feeder at Anne Lloyd’s house, lots of seeds held together with honey from the combs of the hives in the back of her herb garden. Just the absolute best, to live here in the valley.
The baler’s daughters arrived to walk home with him as they did every day. Lena, the youngest had a special affinity for the sparrows and knew they were last each day at the bird feeder. Just in case they had no berries left, Lena put some of her bread crusts in her pocket from the toast she had at breakfast. The sparrows knew her and would wait. Sometimes Lena and her sister Sylvia would be chatting on and on.
You were never alone in the valley, especially if you were a child. children could get lost in their thoughts and play and had to be turned homeward. Sprites were particularly good at this. They were always happy to follow kids and play with the small ones who had no playmates when their siblings got to school. The dragons dealt with the ones straying for whatever reason into the woods. No child was ever alone. A child in the valley may seem to be talking to themselves, but they never are. There are fairies and sprites and all kinds of creatures who would never let a child be lonely and every child knows the fairies and sprites to be friends until they outgrow the need for all that watchfulness and companionship.
Well, now the sparrows had been lingering, thinking they would have a crust or two from Lena’s pocket, but she and Sylvia were deep in conversation. “Goodness” chirped the one, “what if the baker comes out, and she forgets”. “Oh,” said the other, “we’ll call a sprite to give her a tug and remind her”. Which is just what happened and the bright child with the red apple cheeks placed the crusts on the feeder, without even stopping her conversation. She did not even acknowledge the sprite who was doing all kinds of flips and other acrobatics trying to be noticed. Sprites live to be marvelled at for their antics, quite the entertainers.
So, the sparrows stopped their feat and chirped, “Nice flips and spins, Sprite!”. The sprite glowed with the joy of recognition and continued to entertain the sparrows at the feast until all were quite tired and like the baker and his children, returned home.