The Bird Who Was Afraid To Fly
Yard Work Dreams • Crying Time
Wouldn’t It Be Nice?
Yard Work Dreams
Wouldn’t it be nice,
if when you finish cutting the grass,
your neighbors would all pour out of their houses and say,
“Good job! Your hard work made the neighborhood look so much better! Here, please take this $50 bill with my thanks.”
I think so.
Every Morning Blues
My head buzzes every morning
Until she slaps me on the top
It happens every nine minutes
Feels like it’s never going to stop
“Where are you going?” I wonder
Alas, she never shares her plans
It is like she doesn’t see me
Although I wave both of my hands
It gets so very boring here
Stuck on this table all alone
I wish one day she would take me
But no, she always takes her phone
I am starving for attention
Some days I feel like a doormat
The only one I see all day
Is Moe, the long-haired napping cat
I guess that when I got this job
I was a little too naive
But now I know the truth of it
If I had working legs, I’d leave
Island of Phiddle Story
The Bird Who Was Afraid To Fly
by Phineas Phiddlephaddle
If you take a walk through the woods on the island of Phiddle, you will notice that the trees are filled with music. The music of songbirds happily singing. Songbirds on Phiddle take great pride in their songs. They work hard to create beautiful melodies and practice their craft daily. There was one songbird, however, who didn’t join the others in the trees. Not because she didn’t sing, but because she didn’t fly.
When Stroller was a baby bird, she fell out of her nest. This is not an uncommon occurrence among birds. Most survive by flapping their tiny wings and slowing the fall. Usually, little harm is done. But the fall scared Stroller so badly that she refused to even try flying afterward. Despite her parent’s best efforts to encourage her, Stroller spent her youth hopping along on the ground.
One Phiddleberry Friday, Stroller happened to hop up on the picnic table across from Annabel Cartwheel. As they enjoyed their Phiddleberrys and Phiddleberry jam, they struck up a conversation.
“I noticed that you hopped all the way across the yard and up onto the table. Can’t you fly?” Annabel asked Stroller.
“I don’t know. I have never tried,” Stroller replied.
“I am worried that if I fly, I might fall out of the sky.”
“But you are a bird. You won’t fall.”
“I would rather stay safe here on the ground.”
“Well, if I were a bird, I would fly all the time. I imagine it must be very exciting.”
“Perhaps, but I will never fly.”
Being polite, Annabel changed the subject. But she couldn’t stop thinking about it. That afternoon she paid a visit to Professor Tinkerhoffer.
“Good afternoon, Professor. I wonder if you could make something for me?”
“Good afternoon to you, Annabel. What would you like me to make?”
“A helmet for a bird.”
“My goodness. That is an unusual request. Why would a bird need a helmet?”
“I met a bird today who is afraid to fly. I thought maybe a helmet would give her some courage.”
The Professor chuckled and said, “While it is a thoughtful idea — and I admit I would very much like to see a bird wearing a helmet — the fact is, birds are balanced for flight. A helmet would add too much weight to her head and make flight extremely difficult or impossible. But I have an idea that might help. Let’s take the bird up in my hot-air balloon. Once she sees how wonderful it is to fly, I am sure she will want to do it on her own.”
“That is a brilliant idea, Professor. When can we go?”
“Tomorrow morning, when the air is cool. Invite your parents, gather your bird friend, and meet me here at 7:30 am.”
“I will. Thank you, Professor.”
The following morning, Annabel and her mother arrived carrying a basket containing a hearty breakfast.
“Good morning, Professor,” Lillian Cartwheel said. “I brought breakfast. It wouldn’t do to fly on an empty stomach.”
“Good morning to you. You are a woman of remarkable insight. Your Henry was a clever man to win your hand.”
“Now you stop that, you old charmer,” Lillian said with a smile.
A few minutes later, Stroller came bouncing down the path.
Annabel greeted Stroller and invited her to join them for breakfast. Annabel had brought some Phiddleberrys for Stroller to eat. After a delightful breakfast, the Professor and Lillian prepared the balloon for flight. Soon they were floating up high into the sky.
Stroller was wide-eyed during the assent. She began singing, and Annabel translated.
“Oh, this is wonderful,” Stroller says.
“You know you could do this on your own,” the Professor said, and Annabel translated.
“Oh, no. I could never fly on my own. I do not know how,” Stroller replied.
After a pleasant morning floating around the island, seeing the sights, they landed in the field next to the Professor’s workshop.
Stroller sang again. “I greatly enjoyed that, Professor. Might we go again another day?”
“Absolutely. I plan to take another flight on Tuesday, to try out an invention I am working on. You are welcome to join me.”
“I will be here,” Stroller replied via Annabel.
“Annabel, can you join us on Tuesday to translate?” the Professor asked.
Annabel looked at her mother.
“Of course, Dear. I love balloon rides. And I am curious to see what the Professor’s invention might be,” Lillian said.
The weekend and Monday passed without much excitement, and suddenly it was Tuesday. When Annabel and her mother arrived, they were surprised and delighted to see a miniature, bird-sized hot-air balloon sitting next to the Professor’s full-sized balloon.
“Oh, it’s adorable!” Annabel said.
“How clever, Professor. And absolutely charming,” Lillian said.
“Thank you, ladies. I thought, since Stroller refuses to fly under her own power, I would make another way for her to fly. A way that would be less demanding on my time and balloon.”
“Brilliant,” Lillian said.
“I also thought since I will be teaching Stroller how to fly a hot-air balloon, I might as well teach the both of you at the same time. It would be good to have more than one balloon pilot on the island. In fact, I may start a flying school.”
“How exciting. That’s a wonderful idea, Professor,” Annabel said.
Stroller arrived a moment later and bounced around with great joy. She was singing so quickly that Annabel had a hard time translating fast enough.
“Annabel, Stroller will need the assistance of a human to get her hot-air balloon airborn. Are you willing to be her ground crew?” Professor Tinkerhoffer asked.
“I am!” Annabel answered.
“Very well, then we may proceed.”
The four of them spent half the day learning how to prepare and fly a hot-air balloon. Stroller’s balloon was a little different. Since Stroller had no hands to operate the burner, the Professor made a tiny rope that Stroller could pull with her beak. They made several successful test flights with the balloons tethered to the ground. Stroller appeared to be a natural balloon pilot.
Two more days of lessons and test flights followed. Then, on Friday, Stroller made her first solo flight. The Professor followed her in his balloon to keep an eye on her. Several birds flew nearby to offer Stroller encouragement. It was a successful flight. When they landed, many humans and birds were waiting to congratulate Stroller on becoming an official balloon pilot.
Stroller became an excellent balloon pilot and was often seen floating through the sky in her hot-air balloon. Visitors to the island sometimes saw her and marveled at the sight of a bird flying a hot-air balloon. When asked about it, Phiddle residents enjoyed saying, “It is simply one of the many mysteries on the island of Phiddle.”
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