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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: To Grill a Mockingbird
By James Dixon


Mate had gathered a pouch of nuts and seeds. She ordered Ugfug to hunt for meat for dinner. He gathered his lucky spear from the corner of the cave and slung his skunk skin bag over his broad shoulders then set off. He followed the trail past the funny shaped rocks into the forest; to get something before something got him.

“There must be a better way to catch dinner” Ugfug thought, “one which did not involve miles of pursuit”. He dreamed of stopping the animals running away when he was hungry. Someday he would be master of all…. “ARRRRRRRRRRRGGG!”…he surveyed the bottom of a muddy pool, the victim of a tree root that lay like a snare on the trail.

“Arrrrrrrrggg!” trilled a parody from a tree. Ugfug decided what he was going to eat for dinner. He stalked the call until he spotted a small grey and white bird perched on a prominent branch. Ugfug lobbed his spear at the elusive target. The spear lodged in the tree. Typical! Now he would have to climb to get it.

He grunted with effort as he forced his way through the tangle of branches. The bird objected to the caveman’s ascent and attacked with a series of darting pecks. The assault was just a diversion, sufficient to disguise the rotten branch below the spear.

“ARRRRRRRRRGGG!” The branch broke and Ugfug fell. The spear followed and landed on his skull. “ARRRRRRRRRGGG!”

Presently Ugfug realized that the fall was cushioned by a feathered body. The hunting trip was a success! Not a bad return for lacerations, bruises skull and- wince- a couple of broken ribs. Ugfug picked up the bird in a large calloused hand and set off home cheerfully.

Presently, the bird woke up and began to plead. “Let me go! I am a mockingbird and worth far more alive than dead. What about art, music, beauty? I have the best song of all the birds.”

“No” said Ugfug, intent on revenge. His only experience of music was Mate’s crooning lullabies that he blamed for keeping Baby awake all night. “Me going to grill you.”

“You don’t even know what ‘mocking’ means!” taunted the what-ever-it-meant-bird. “It would take at least two of us to make a decent meal. Why not prove your evolutionary cleverness by catching a bigger dinner?” Suddenly the scrawny bird did not seem a great reward for his pains.

“How?” Ugfug grunted.

“Let me go. I will help you build a statue of the great bird god out of those funny shaped rocks. The birds will flock to it and you’ll have plenty to eat.”

Ugfug set the mockingbird down on the ground at spear point. Its’ wing looked broken, the bird helpless, the scheme clever. He agreed to the plan.

The mocking bird instructed Ugfug to move the wedge shaped rock (that looked a bit like a bird tail) against the tall upright one (that resembled a feathered body). Several round rocks were discarded before finding a satisfactory likeness of the bird god’s head. The image was completed with a suitably beaky lump that had to be placed on the top facing skywards.

The caveman stood back to admire the mutant stargazing fowl but no birds came. To add injury to insult the beak fell off and hit Ugfug’s toe. “ARRRRRRRRRGGG!” It was a cry of pain and realization that the miraculously recovered mockingbird was sitting in a tree.

“There’s one thing missing” the mockingbird observed, “The bird god would provide a feast. Get some bird food and spread it around the statue.”

Ugfug wondered why he’d not thought of that before. He crept back to the cave where Mate and baby were snoring blissfully having their afternoon nap. Ugfug stole the food bag and went back to the idol. He replaced the beak and spread the contents liberally over the stones and created the world’s first bird table.

Birds flocked from the forest to gobble the feast. Ugfug grabbed his spear and launched it repeatedly at the swirling flock. They danced out of the way of the sluggish missile. “ARRRRRRRRRGGG!” the caveman screamed furiously.

Mate emerged to see what the commotion was about. She saw the discarded pouch, plump birds and an impotent partner.

“Urrrg!” screamed Mate, which translates as “Stupid caveman! What made you feed our dinner to the birds?” Then she smacked him on the head with her club.

“Arrrrrrrrggg!” mockingbirds chorused in imitation.

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This article has been read 784 times
Member Comments
Member Date
James Clem 01/17/08
Very clever fun story!
Mockingbird 1, Ugfug 0
Yvonne Blake 01/18/08
Ha, Ha, Funny!
I loved the line..."taunted the whatever-it-meant bird"
Great writing!
LauraLee Shaw01/21/08
Cute fable. LOVE the title and the ending. Extremely well-written piece.
Gerald Shuler 01/22/08
Marvelous storytelling. It even leads to a new saying: "You can't believe everything a bird in the hand tells you."
Peter Stone01/22/08
What an hilarious story! My only comment would be for Ugfug's thinking style to match his spoken ability (or lack there of..)
Well done.
Lyn Churchyard01/22/08
LOL Well written and very funny. I love the title and your sense of humour.

Karen Wilber01/22/08
This is exactly what I would expect a mockingbird to do in this situation. Funny story all the way through. Arrrrggggg!
Hanne Moon 01/22/08
How precious! Except for a few typos and punctuation, nothing to red ink! This is great writing!
Jan Ackerson 01/22/08
This is hilarious, and awesomely written. I'm a little bit worried that it might be considered a "literal example" of the proverb, though. Love the pun in the title, and the name "Ugfug". Witty and charming!
Catrina Bradley 01/22/08
What a hoot! Love the translation of Mate's Urrgg, and then hitting him with the club. Many smiles throughout. A great, new-fashioned fable.
Holly Westefeld01/23/08
This creative piece was a lot of fun.
I like how you were attentive to detail, and mentioned both the pouch of nuts and the rocks which would appear in the story later.
Sara Harricharan 01/24/08
ROFL! This was hilarious, I had to laugh all the way through this, lots of fun, and of course, that wonderful phrase...AAAARRRGGHH!

***Congrats on your placing!***
Helen Murray02/02/08
WOW! This is a classic! On the surface very funny/clever, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. I look forward to lots more from you.
Debbie Wistrom05/19/08
I love these guys and what a great title, so glad this one placed, maybe your new one will advance to as well.