One Boy’s Efforts to Correct Nature’s Shortcomings
Maida was outside picking up some of the shingles scattered around to use as kindling in the old wood stove, when she heard loud, angry boys’ voices. Here came her three sons, the oldest two dragging five-year-old Alan, by the arms.
“You’ll never guess what he did now, Mom!” The older boys glared in righteous indignation at the tearful transgressor. “He got into the birds’ nests in the apple trees and moved all the eggs and the baby birds around. They’re so mixed up now their poor mothers will never find them!”
“Yeah. Whatever is God thinking about the awful thing you did, Alan Knowles?”
She felt an urge to laugh at the very idea, but stifled it. This was, after all, a major crime to the two oldest boys. The accused hung his head and made no defence. (He told his mother later that he hadn’t dared to explain with his two prosecutors yelling and glaring down at him so furiously. He wouldn’t have gotten a word in anyway.)
To defuse the issue a bit she told him he’d best go and tend to the cats so they wouldn’t find out about the confusion in the orchard before the baby birds learned to fly. Happy with his light sentence, he dried his tears and hurried off to the shed where their new cat family lived.
It took a few years until he explained his actions that day. “I’d been watching the birds coming and going to their nests and I noticed that some mother birds didn’t leave their nests for long; they seemed to grab some food and come back quickly. Others stayed away a lot longer.
“I was afraid the eggs and babies would get cold when their mothers were gone so long, so I just moved the eggs and baby birds to the nests where the mothers came back sooner. I thought they’d be better looked after.”
It made perfect sense at the time. ☺
Account retold from the book Apples Don’t Just Grow by Maida Parlow French
© 1954 by McClelland & Stewart Ltd