The Grumpy Sparrow and the Unfortunate Trees

Why am I like this.


 

Sparrow

 

It was a Sunday full of wine and sprinkles for all but the poor and the poorly, and the animals in the forest rejoiced but for a grumpy little sparrow who fluttered about, searching for some sweet, sweet white to abate his surly demeanor.

“Sir Sparrow!” called a canary from a branch above.  “Why so somber on such a beautiful day?”

The sparrow settled on another branch.  “It is a medium day at best – at the very best – and, if you must know, I’ve had not a bite to eat for its entirety.”

“Ah, well, there are some crickets in the underbrush just east of here!”

The sparrow glowered.  “I’ve had my fill of cricket.  Begone with your sunny feathers and lackluster suggestions.”

“Suit yourself, then!”  The canary took her leave.

It was in that moment that the sparrow noticed a leaf to his left of precisely the wrong shade of yellow-green.  Properly offended, he bent down and plucked the unsightly thing from his perch.  Doing so, however, created an imbalance with the other side of the branch, so he plucked a second leaf to even things out.

Several minutes later, the branch was laid bare.

Please do not remove all of my leaves, Mr. Sparrow, said the tree in a language made of rustles.  I need them to photosynthesize.

The sparrow pecked the tree in irritation, then took to the air.  But in his haste to be on with his search, he neglected to pay sufficient mind to overhead clearance, and promptly bonked his head upon a higher branch and plummeted to the earth below.

He awoke sometime later to the gentle shake of a thin brown squirrel.  “Are you all right?” asked the squirrel, nosing him when he stirred.  “Come on – let’s get you up before a fox comes around and spots you like this.”

The sparrow hopped to his feet and stretched out his wings, which felt intact.  “I’m fine.  I was merely seeing what it must feel like to be one of those stupid birds who falls to the ground for no good reason at all.  To see if I could better sympathize with them, you understand.”

“Oh!  Did it work?”

“No.”

“Haha!  You’re a funny one, sparrow.”

“I’m hungry, is what I am.  I can’t seem to find a spec of sugar anywhere.”

The squirrel’s eyes brightened and he clapped his paws together.  “Oh!  You’re in luck!  I have a big pile of it in my tree.”  He gestured to a knothole in a nearby oak.  “I’ll tell you what – if you help me gather a couple of the hard-to-reach acorns up there, you can have as much of it as you want!”

The sparrow considered this for a moment, and then ended the squirrel’s life.

Slipping into the oak, the sparrow instantly noticed the heap of glorious snowy powder tucked away in one corner of the hole.  Wasting not another moment, he thrust his beak into it, but then immediately recoiled.

The sparrow puffed up, pregnant with rage, for it was not sugar at all, but saccharin – a devious impostor created by man.  He knew this, for as well as grumpy he was a clever sparrow.  In fact, a human child had once tried to feed him saccharin.  A child who had concluded that day with fewer fingers than she had begun it.

The sparrow thwacked the atrocious substance with a wing, sending up a billow of grievous white dust which settled upon his feathers.

A squirrel was a low-quality creature, he reminded himself.


 

Bene scribete.

The Bag of Promises

No.


 

bag

 

Somewhere deep within the Forest of Meaning there lay a bag filled with promises for every creature, great and small.

On one bright and meaningful day, as woodland critters gathered around to await their chances at it, a nervous brown squirrel approached and ruffled through the bag as though, one might say, he were rooting for acorns.  When at last he found his, it promised him:

Your tail will grow much larger this summer.

This pleased the squirrel greatly, for he had chosen a very large tree as his home to compensate for the lack of confidence his currently meager tail provided him.  A large home and a large tail?   Well, the squirrelettes wouldn’t be able to resist him then.  He thanked the bag and moved on.

Next, it was the turn of a fluffy white bunny.  She sniffed around in the bag and quickly located her promise:

Your hops will be bouncier than ever this week, and by its end, you will find your one true rabbity love.

The bunny hopped in excitement and nuzzled the bag with gratitude, then bounded away.

A deer came afterward.  She hoofed around the bag and located a promise just for her:

You will run with more grace and speed than you thought possible, and avoid the jaws of the wolf.

This was, of course, splendid news.  The deer had a very young fawn and would not like to see him orphaned.  Well, naturally she wouldn’t see him orphaned, as in such a scenario she would be deceased.  The opposite was entirely preferable.  She sighed in relief and trotted off.

A cricket followed.  He crawled into the bag and searched around.  He dug through all the promises, explored every corner, scoured every inch, but could find no promise meant for him.

The cricket was crestfallen.  “Dear bag,” he pleaded, “have you nothing to promise me?”

“I’m certain I must,” replied the bag – the bag can speak when it suits it, let’s say.  “Did you try looking harder?”

It was an astute suggestion.  The cricket tried looking harder, but still uncovered no promise for himself.  “I see nothing, o magnificent bag.”  The cricket was quite despondent.

“That is so very unlike me,” mourned the bag.  “I can think of not a single reason why I would have nothing to promise you.”

It was then – exactly then – that a grumpy and impatient sparrow fluttered down, snapped the cricket up, and ate him bodily.  It was not very satisfying.

“Oh,” said the bag, relieved.  “That would be why.”  The world made sense again.

The sparrow eyed the bag suspiciously.  “Have you anything for me, bag?”

“I don’t see why not!”

The sparrow shuffled through the bag and found a promise all his own:

You will find no sugar this week.

“That is a terrible promise,” grumbled the sparrow.

“I am sorry, Mr. Sparrow.”

“I feel this entire ordeal has been quite meaningless.”

“I understand, Mr. Sparrow.”

“Just a waste of everyone’s time.”  The sparrow pecked the bag in irritation.

“Please do not peck me, Mr. Sparrow.”

Thoroughly displeased with the day’s events, the sparrow took his leave.


 

Bene scribete.

Dincton Flatt and the Very Grey Suit

Uh-oh, another one.


 

greysuit

 

“This suit,” Flatt muttered, half turning to the left, then right, as he admired himself in the mirror, “is rather grey.  Extremely grey, one might say.  But is it…”  He ran his hands over the coat.  “…too grey?”

“I shouldn’t think so, sir,” his robot coyote responded with a tilt of his head.

The tailor started, falling back onto his bum and dropping his tape.  “Heavens!  It can talk?”

“Featherby can extremely talk,” Flatt sighed, waving a hand in dismissal of the obvious.  “For him not to speak would be the proper marvel.”

The tailor frowned, but went back to work.

Flatt’s gaze returned to the mirror, but truthfully, had never left it.  “Perhaps you’re right, Featherby.  One can never have too grey a suit, can he?”

“Not when made by the finest tailor in Danesbury, sir.”

“Oh, well,” the tailor sputtered, distracted but obviously chuffed, “th-thank you, yes.  You’re a–a fine thing, I suppose.”

Featherby nodded curtly, and Flatt shook his head, summoning an appropriate reply to his tongue, but before it could bust snappily and handsomely through his lips, the shop’s door swung open and a man in a lavender suit twirled in.

“What on Earth…?”  Flatt only saw him through the mirror, and still didn’t feel like turning around.

“I require a tune-up for my vestments,” the entrant announced, voice lilting all over the place.  His short hair and mustache were blue, which they had no business being, if Flatt were to be consulted on the matter.

“Mr. Gabbery is quite occupied at the moment, I’m afraid,” Flatt said, ensuring his tone suggested his own importance without necessarily rubbing it in the strange man’s face.

“Yet I am an immediate man,” the newcomer assured, holding his arms out and strutting fancily over to the others.

Featherby piped up, “And who are you, precisely, if you do not mind my asking?”  There may have been a bite to his words.  Good for Featherby.

The man turned to the coyote and set his fingertips upon his breast.  “Dabither Fudgebegotten, naturally.”  He swooped down and held out a hand, to which Featherby tentatively offered a paw, and they shook.  He then straightened up and faced the tailor once more, gesturing over himself.  “Now present me that I am presentable.”

“Of–of course, just as soon as I finish–” Mr. Gabbery began, but Fudgebegotten overrode him:

“Cannot be borne, I regret to say.  I have many preparations to make.”

Flatt finally deigned to turn his head, raising an eyebrow.  “Surely, my good man, you cannot mean to interrupt my fitting?”

“I haven’t the time to wait on questionably grey suits, I fear. I’m certain you understand.”

“Nonsense,” Flatt grumbled.  “Its greyness is precise…”

“Nevertheless,” Fudgebegotten intoned, addressing the tailor, “my needs are a priority.”  He smiled, and his mustache twiggled.  “I promise.”

The tailor furrowed his brow, but nodded.  “Very well, then.”  He gestured headwise for Flatt to step down from the pedestal.

Flatt eyed him.  “Truthfully, Mr. Gabbery?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Flatt.  He did promise.”

Flatt groaned but complied.  “Come, then, Featherby.  Let us quit the scene of this indignity.”  He marched toward the exit, coyote in tow, but stopped as he reached the door, glowering back at the lavender-suited tailor usurper.  “Mr. Fudgebegotten – you wouldn’t happen to have been wearing a hat earlier, by any chance?”

Maaaybe,” Fudgebegotten practically sang, lips pursed joyfully and eyebrows waggling for a needlessly extended period.

Flatt’s face darkened, and he flung his way out through the shop’s threshold.

“You know, sir,” Featherby mused as they walked down the street, “now that I see it in the daylight, I wonder if it could be said that your suit is, perhaps, after all, just a touch too much on the grey side.”

The frown on Flatt’s face might have dislocated his jaw.  “Oh, Featherby, why did I build you?”

“For good times, sir.”


 

Bene scribete.