HOW THE FIRST CARDINAL GOT HIS RED COATJIM CROW had been feasting on green maize quite close to Cardinal Grosbeaks sitting-room in a stag sumac. When his corn meal was finished he perched on the fence that separated the field from the thicket, toMoreHOW THE FIRST CARDINAL GOT HIS RED COATJIM CROW had been feasting on green maize quite close to Cardinal Grosbeaks sitting-room in a stag sumac. When his corn meal was finished he perched on the fence that separated the field from the thicket, to polish his beak, and the Cardinal in his flaming suit, followed by a pair of his nestlings only two suns on wing, paused for a visit.
Jim Crow gazed at Cardinals brilliant plumage with envy.Trap me! he cawed, but I would love to know where you got that coat.Have you never heard? chipped Cardinal in surprise. I thought you knew the history of every bird in the woods. We have been teaching our nestlings from their shells. Our young ones only two suns from their cradle know. Chipper, suppose you tell Jim Crow how the first Cardinal came to have a red coat.Chipper fluffed with importance. His mother was going to teach him the traditions of all the birds she knew, and she had begun with their own family.
Her young ones so loved the story that they had made her repeat it until they could correct her if she varied in one note. It was delightful to be able to teach the wise Crow something, so he gripped the sumac limb, fluffed his feathers, flared his crest until it leaned forward and began :His name was ist only Grosbeak, cos he had such a big beak, and his coat was gray, all plain gray. It was right after the grea big flood had drown all the other birds, except him and his mate, so right away, soon as the sun had dried things a little, they hurried up and built a sitting-room and went to work to raise more Grosbeaks, cos it was dreffle lonely with only two in the family.
So they built a beauful nest and Mother Grosbeak was brooding, faithfully as ever she could, and Father Grosbeak got tired carrying food to her all the time, and he never could keep quiet, specially ist after being shut up in the big boat so long, so he think hell take a little pleasure trip up the river, and his name was Grosbeak and his coat was gray, ist common gray.So he was flying close the river, and hopping from bush to bush, and chipping bout everything he saw, yes and two three times he got picked good, cos he chipped sweet chips at other birds mates, and there wasnt only ist two of all and every kind there were, and all the males were taking the goodest care ever of their own mates, and if Father Grosbeak came hopping up sidewise to any female and whispered sof’ and sweet, Dearie, dearie, dearie!
and her mate heard him, why nen Father Grosbeak have to fly like the wind, nelse he lose a good big beakful of feathers- but he dont ever care, cos very next bird he see, he hop straight and chip same thing to her, cos he cant help it, for his name Grosbeak and his coat was gray, ist gray.So he was flying up the river, and right there on the bank he saw the loveliest female ever, ever in all the world, cos she was Mother Nature, when she was young. Her eyes were ist sky blue, and her cheeks ist rose pink, and her lips ist fire red, and her beauful green dress ist float and wave around her—and there she sat.
She was all tired out cleaning the grea big flood off everything, cos she had to wash away the mud, and dry the ground, and start things growing again, and she thought shed rest a little, so she sat on the bank, ist the loveliest ever, and while she rested she was making flowers to brighten the earth. She had some green stems sticked on the bank, where they could see theirselves in the water, and she was making the beaufulest little ragged flowers you ever saw and dipping them into a pot of red paint, and squeezing a drop of honey into each one of them, for the bees, and to make them all so sweet and smelly, and sticking them on the stems and when they were a