A Children's Story
 

A feast of beauty is the colored bird, each feather a fountain plume that sparkles in the light of a magic jungle. See the sweep of his tail that brushes the sky with rainbows. He sits on a branch and listens to the whisper of this friend, the Brother Wind. He befriends the Wind as it moans to him from all the places of the world. The colored bird listens patiently, nodding his head in punctuation to the whispers and sighs. Before he lifts into the air on his shining wings, the colored bird leaves a single feather as a token of love, releasing it freely into the embrace of Brother Wind. He knows that this feather, carried gently by his Brother, will bring joy to his fellow dwellers of the magic jungle.

The magic jungle is neither here nor there, for as the light of your day fades--in the very last ray of sunlight, so the whole world of the magic jungle thrives. The trees of this magical place shine like emeralds, and the waters glisten like a thousand tiny blue crystals, as they tumble in a waterfall of dazzling light. 

All the trees and plants join the animals in loving one another and so that is why they are so beautiful. However, the animals do not know is a special place in which they live. They think that everywhere is  beautiful as the magic jungle; but the colored bird knows.  He once glimpsed our world out of the corner of this eye for just a moment. He thought this other world which he saw for a moment, seemed very dull and heavy and not light and cool, as it always is in his jungle. He kept this secret to himself, as he did not wish to disappoint his animal friends by telling them about the other world, for it was so sad that such a place existed. 

On another day, the colored bird sat in the warm sunlight perched on a smooth, brown branch. He reached his head high above him until his neck was stretched quite thin. With his golden beak, he plucked a grape the size and color of a large amber dewdrop. It flashed sparkles of green as he juggled it in the air. From deep inside the grape he could hear a tiny singing sound. Then the colored bird opened his beak wide and gulped down the beautiful amber grape. Now the grape would sing inside him, for it would fill his stomach with joy. The colored bird knew that the grape vine was glad to give the amber grape to him, just as the colored bird had been happy to give his feather to the wind.

The colored bird was happy--except when he thought of the dimness of the other world. This brought him sorrow.  As time went by, the secret of this sorrow which he kept from his friends weighed ever more heavily upon him, until he felt like a branch so laden with the fruit of knowledge that it bent low to the ground. Finally, he knew he must share this knowledge with his companions of the magic jungle.  He gathered them together around him and spoke, "My friends," said he, "I cannot keep what I know from you any longer.  I must tell you that our jungle is a special place--that everywhere is not like our home. I glimpsed a world very close to ours--so close it is on the breath of our friend, Brother Wind.  Yet is is not a bright place. The colors of the world I glimpsed do not sparkle as do ours. They do not change with the thoughts of its dwellers. The berries of the other world do not sing as they are eaten, nor do the bubbles of their water dance in the air. The dwellers of the world I saw are blind to the beauty of the day or the comfort of the night. They are lost, and I feel great pity for them."

As the colored bird finished speaking and lowered his head, the other animals all looked at him and smiled. "Poor colored bird," they chimed in together, "why did you not tell us before about this world you saw? We could have kept you from sorrow had we known."  The colored bird looked up at his friends in amazement, saying in a rather offended manner, "But I know what I saw!" A little mouse poked his head out from behind an ostriches' leg and spoke in a loud but sweet voice, "Yes, indeed you do, brother, but you saw what you did through the light of THIS world. Each world has its OWN light with which to see. If you had seen with the light of the other world, you would have then seen the beauty of that world. The beings who live in the "dimness" you perceive as their existence may not fully appreciate their own beauty as we do ours, but that is because they are always trying to see into OUR world. It never works that way, you know" the mouse spoke with authority, as he stood up straight, and flicked a tiny whisker.   He continued, "This jungle is not special. It is a very ordinary place; but we see it with the true light of love and watch it closely; therefore we expect everything to bloom in loveliness, and so it does.  All that nature asks is that you watch it closely and tend it gently with love. Then it will reveal to you its most beautiful treasures."

The colored bird knew that the little mouse was speaking the truth, for whenever truth is spoken sincerely and with gentleness, a loving warmth spreads through the heart, and the colored bird could feel the warm glow in his heart just then.  Not being able to contain himself any longer, the colored bird cried out in a melodic song, "Let us whisper this truth to the dwellers of the other world when they sleep. Let us line their dreams with featherbeds of comforting thoughts that will lend to them a wise cushion for their leaner days. We shall tell them to never be too busy to ask nature to reveal itself to their hearts. We shall say to them, 'be watchful of nature, for she will teach you the lesson of love. All the animals, plants and trees, all the rivers and waterfalls and the little breezes and the big winds would be glad to share their beauty with you.'  This we shall whisper to those who sleep."

The colored bird understood now, and his heart was not sad anymore. He knew he could reach out with his song beyond the barriers of his jungle and sing into the souls of beings who lived in the other world. Then he had a thought. He shivered his body and a bright green and yellow feather was loosed to the wind. "Take this, Brother Wind, carry it to the other world!" he all but shouted in joy. 

Like the colored bird, it is best to leave a token of your love on the wind, than do nothing, with a sigh in your heart. If you water a small plant whose leaves are withered and ugly, it will grow strong each day until it returns your token of water and care with its' flowering beauty. Never is love wasted. It is a beautiful colored feather that is carried by the heart into all the universe.

 

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