Monday, October 20, 2003
 
The Little Sparrow, by Maxim Gorky

Sparrows are just like people. The grown-ups are dull as ditchwater and everything they say sounds as if it came out of a book, but the young have minds of their own.

Once upon a time there lived a baby sparrow and his name was Poodik. He lived on top of a bath-house window in a nice warm nest made of tow, bits of moss and other soft stuff. He had not yet tried to fly, but already he was flapping his little wings and poking his head out of the nest. He was very impatient to know what the outside world was like and whether it was good enough for him.

"Tweet, tweet --- what are you up to?" Mother Sparrow would ask and Poodik would shake his wings and, peeping down at the ground, would chirrup back: "It's ch-err-ibly dark down there! Ch-err-ibly dark!"

Then Father Sparrow would come home with insects for them to eat and start boasting: "I'm the chief! I'm the chief!"
And Mother Sparrow would chirp approvingly: "Yes, chief! Yes, chief!"
But Poodik just swallowed the insects and thought to himself: "They give you a leggy worm and talk as if it was fantastic!"

And he would keep poking his head out of the nest and peering around.
"Now, child! Now, child!" his mother chirped at him. "mind you don't fall out!"
"Don't be silly! Not I," Poodik chirped back.
"It'll be silly you, if there's a cat about! He'll gobble you up!" his father explained, flying off on another hunt.
And so the days went by. Yet Poodik's wings were in no hurry to grow.

One day a strong wind sprang up.
"Twee-ee-eet! Twee-ee-eet! What's this?" Poodik wanted to know.
"It's the wind," his mother told him. "And it could blow you out of the nest. Then-whoops! Down you go to the cat!"

Poodik did not like the sound of that so he said:
"Why are the trees swaying? Let them stop swaying, and the wind will go away."
His mother tried to explain how things worked, but he would not believe her. He had his own answer for everything.

A man walked past the bath-house, swinging his arms.
"The cat must have torn his wings off," Poodik tweeted. "Only the bones remain."
"That's a man. Men don't have wings!" his mother said.
"Why not?"
"That's how they are. All they can do is hop about on two legs, see?"
"But why?"
"Because if they had wings, they would chase us, just as Daddy and I chase insects."
"That's twash!" Poodik tweeted. "Twash and twaddle! Everyone ought to have wings. It can't be such fun on the ground as it is in the air! When I grow up, I'll see that everyone can fly."

So Poodik refused to trust his mother. He was too young to know that you can land in trouble if you don't trust your mother.
Boldly he perched on the very edge of the nest, chirping out a cheery song:

Wingless human beings all
Your legs are useless things!
You may be big, you may be tall
But you each insect bites and stings.
Now look at me, small as can be
I feed on insects, as you see.


He went on singing till he fell right out of the nest. Down went Mother Sparrow after him. But so did the cat --- a big ginger monster with green eyes.
Poodik was frightened out of his feathers. He spread is little wings and, trembling on his small grey legs, twittered timidly:
"Highly honoured to see you, I'm sure."
But his mother pushed him aside. And with her feathers ruffled up, she looked very brave and fierce, her open beak aimed straight at the cat's green eyes.
"Quick, Poodik!" she cried. "Up on the window! Fly!"
Fear lifed the little sparrow off the ground. He took one jump, flapped his wings once and then again, and there he was on the window ledge.

And after him came Mother. Though she had lost her tail she was overjoyed. She gave him a good peck on the back of the head, saying, "Well?"
"Well, what?" said Poodik. "You can't learn everything at once!"

Meanwhile the cat was sitting on the ground, picking Mother Sparrow's feathers off his paw, staring up at them and miaowing sadly:
"What a sweet little spar-r-riow! Just like a miaowse! Miaow!"

So it all came right in the end, that is, if we don't count the loss of Mummy's tail.


- posted by Allie @ 4:16 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Archives:
September 2002| October 2002| November 2002| December 2002| January 2003| February 2003| March 2003| April 2003| May 2003| June 2003| July 2003| September 2003| earlyOctober 2003 | October 2003 | November 2003 | December 2003 | January 2004 | February 2004 | March 2004 | April 2004 | May 2004 | June 2004 | July 2004 | August 2004 | September 2004 | October 2004 | November 2004 | December 2004 | January 2005 | February 2005 | March 2005 | April 2005 | May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005 | January 2006 | February 2006 | March 2006 | April 2006 | June 2006 | August 2006 | September 2006 | October 2006 | December 2006 | January 2007 | March 2007 | May 2007 | June 2007 | August 2007 | October 2007 | February 2008 | April 2008 | May 2008