"I am sad today," said Caw-Caw, a young crow.
"Christmas is almost here and I have no gifts to give. Besides, who wants a noisy crow around? All I'm good for is making strange noises."
"That's not true," answered Bushy-Red, his squirrel friend.
"Get away pest, is what I hear when I'm around other birds, with pretty colors," moaned Caw-Caw. "And their voices sing like the joy of sunrise."
Bushy-Red waggled his tail. "I understand. You're feeling poorly," he said.
"No you don't!" shouted Caw-Caw. "Look at me, a feathery nothing, only able to make weird sounds. If only" Caw-Caw whispered.
"If only, what?" Bushy-Red asked. They were resting alongside a trail in the woods.
It was so peaceful with snow covering fir trees. If only Caw-Caw stopped complaining, thought squirrel. Then he could notice beauty around them.
If only I wasn't such a chubby bird dressed in black, thought the crow. How nice it would be to say something besides, Caw-Caw." all the time."
"But you're such a kind bird," said the squirrel. "And your nest is the neatest one around. You even chase away pests from the farmer's fields."
"That's really nothing," said the crow, flicking his wing.
"Well it's more than nothing to the farmers," said Busy-Red scampering up a large maple tree. "Come on up."
'Oh, all right" said the crow. He flapped quickly and joined his friend on the upper branch.
"Now relax," said the squirrel to his sad friend. Then he opened his furry mouth and began to sing:
"Oh my friend, you're in such misery.
And you're just a black feathery bird
with little to say, except, CAW-CAW."
"Christmas can be such a lonely time. It should be filled with lots of happy sounds," said the crow. "If only I could help someone be happy, even with a voice like mine."
Busy-Red wasn't listening, and he kept on singing:
"Oh the sad crow moaned and groaned,
little else could he do. Good thing he did
not have to carry around heavy shoes, too."
While two friends thought about Christmas to come, others far away were busy making plans.
In Belgium, little mice prepared stockings filled with treats. There was cheese and special sweet bread, called "Cougnolle."
"Maybe my voice needs practice," said the crow. "Instead of being shooed away, someone may like me."
But, his friend Bushy-Red the squirrel, wasn't listening. He was too busy singing:
"Oh the crow is a friend, indeed. Please
help him not dread the sound of his voice.
We all know, it's the only one he has, you see."
Then Bushy-Red looked at his friend, and said, "In Brazil, chicken with rice is the usual Christmas treat." (And that far away, as special music came, turkeys began to dance).
"In France a Christmas tree is decorated with red ribbons and white candles," said Bush-Red." (And far away, deer and other creatures chased moonbeams in the twilight).
"In Germany," said Bushy-Red, "one little piggy is picked to ring the family bell. It's a signal to open their gifts." (And far, far away, many squeals of happiness are expected).
"How can it be you are so wise?" asked the crow. He
leaned from the branch trying to see if a wise owl was
whispering these facts and ideas into his friend's ear.
But, Bushy-Red wasn't listening and began to sing:
"Over here, Christmas is a time for turkey treats
and trimmings. Polish sausage and Lasagna too.
So be good or else Santa will zoom on through."
"I get it," said the crow. "Christmas is really a happy
time. And we should learn to share it too."
"That's the spirit," said Bushy-Red. "He sang once again:
"Tick-Tock. Tick-Tick-Tock. I surely know
Christmas is almost here, in a few moments
we will share, and be happy and yell for joy."
Crow stretched to his full feathery size. He looked
left, then right, lifted his chin, and let out a loud cry.
Instead of "Caw-Caw," Crow heard a beautiful sound, coming from deep within. Words hurried through his beak and began with:
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher
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