Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)
TITLE: Do Worms Taste As Bad As They Look?
By Marlene Austin
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“Tweet. Hi, Cardi.”
“Cheep, cheep. Man, today’s gonna be great!”
“Tweet. I’m not so sure.”
“Cheep. What are you talking about? Ole’ Crow is going to take all of us birdlings for some flying exercises. Remember?”
“Tweet. Yeah, I remember,” Chickie chirped with little enthusiasm.
“Cheep, cheep. He called it ‘Field Day’, ‘cause we’re gonna fly over that great big, open field where our parents never let us fly. I don’t know why they think it’s so dangerous!”
“Tweet. Because it is so open, Birdbrain!” Chickie always liked to get a peck in whenever he could on his larger, bolder friend.
“Cheep, cheep, cheep. That’s just what I mean!” Cardi responded, ignoring the barb. “Nothing but wide open field. No wires to get tangled up in. No poles to be careful of. No flying rocks or balls to dodge. Man, oh man. I’m gonna go so-o-o high, higher than I’ve ever been before. You just wait and see! I’m gonna be so high, it may take days for my feathers to drift to the ground. And, fast. I’m gonna fly so fast, you ain’t gonna see nothing but a red streak in the sky.”
Cardi continued to expound upon the great feats he planned to accomplish, enthusiasm building with each exaggeration. Chickie made the perfect sounding board. Being smaller and lighter weight, he knew he was no match for the bigger, stronger birds for altitude and speed, but when it came to lower, agile flight, he was among the best.
When the two friends reached the branches of the trees which rimmed the open space, they heard Master Crow squawking instructions. He stressed the importance of being eagle-eyed for hidden dangers in the underbrush, especially bright flashes of sunlight glinting off metal, and to be alert for predatory birds seeking to snatch a meal from the air. He, also, reminded the birdlings to be aware of the flight paths of one another. The last safety measure he gave was to always be in control - of speed, distance, space, and maneuvers.
The next hour was filled with weaves, bobs, loops, curves, trills and chirps; each bird expanding its wingspread and endurance. Finally, Master Crow sounded the “Caw, caw” which signaled the rebanding of the flock.
Well, this will be my last maneuver of the day, thought Cardi. I want it to be my absolute best.
With that, he soared an additional 10 meters upward and made a tight loop. With wing feathers pressed against his elongated body, he began a careening, eel curving spiral toward the earth. His plan was to wait until he was two meters above the treetops, then, he would lift his head slightly, begin to open his wings, and gracefully glide to a perch. In his vision, it was wonderful. In reality, it became wretched!
Just as Cardi lifted his head, he caught sight of Robbi, the thick-bodied, slow moving, rock of a robin. Robbi was turning in the same direction as Cardi’s rapidly descending path. There were squawks, squeals, caws and trills, but Robbi was just too slow to avoid a ramming. Cardi’s descent was so fast that he had misjudged the control that maneuvering at such a great speed would require. Master Crow positioned his enormous body and wingspan between Robbi and Cardi as best he could. He was able to protect Robbi’s form except for the outermost edge of Robbie’s right wing. As for Cardi, the lift from Master Crow’s powerful wings pushed Cardi upward enough to allow him to glide over and down Robbi’s right side.
That evening the trees were atwitter with the news of the birdlings’ outing. As the Cardinal family nested in the full holly tree, they heard the Robin family discuss the difficulty Robbi’s broken cartilage would create in providing food for their large family.
Just before the last rays of the sun sank below the horizon, Cardie cheeped to his parents, “I know I can’t change anything I have done, but, Father, do you suppose I could learn to catch a worm? Do they taste as awful as they look?”
His father’s red plumage glowed as fire in the flame of the setting sun. “You know, I’ve never tasted a worm myself. How about we eat a sunflower seed before and after we drop each worm at the Robins’ nest in the morning?”
Feeling more at peace, Cardi tucked his head beneath his scarlet wing.
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