Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Australia or New Zealand (01/15/09)
TITLE: Always Good for a Laugh
By Myrna Noyes
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What do you mean, I have a “big head”? Of course, I do! I come by it naturally, as I am about seventeen inches long, with a strong, stout beak. I am definitely no shrinking violet! In fact, I’m not violet at all, but am dressed in unassuming white and brown plumage fitting to the casual, rugged country life I lead. No fancy feathers for this boy!
I am well-known and admired in my native Aussie Land. However, it does irritate the locals when I swoop down and snatch chunks of delicious fresh grilled meat off their backyard “barbies” of an evening. When I am unable to “dine out” on such delicacies, I feast on snakes, lizards, mice, and insects, which custom seems to please the humans. (My fondness for the tender taste of baby birds of other species appears to bother some of them a bit, though.)
Have you ever had a song written about you? I figured as much. Well, I have, and that just underscores how important I am! Okay, so it’s just a children’s song; I’m still the “star”! I’ll have you know that my picture is even featured on stamps and coins. Not only that, but I was one of three mascots at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Makes you want to show me some respect, doesn’t it? (By the way, I notice you have a camera. If you want to snap a photo, my left is my best side.)
The opening phrase of the “musical ode to me” mentions me sitting in an old gum tree. (I want to caution any of you little ankle biters not to get your hopes up too high here. This does not mean you’ll find sticks of spearmint or blobs of bubble gum sprouting from limbs in the springtime!) Actually, I am at home in any kind of tree and inhabit mostly woodland spaces. At dusk each evening my mates and I go to roost on branches, rending the night air with a crazy, cacophonous chorus. At dawn, we do an enthusiastic encore, making sure everyone within a couple mile radius is wide awake. We don’t want any one to be late for work or school, you see, and feel we are providing the neighborhood a true service. In fact, in some areas we are known as the “bushman’s alarm clock.”
You’ve heard of the lion referred to as the “King of the Jungle.” Well, the second line of the aforementioned song recognizes me as the “King of the Bush.” To be more specific, I am the Kingfisher of the Bush, but it means the same thing—I RULE! Now, when I speak of the “bush,” I don’t refer to an individual stemmed plant, but to the generally wooded, rural parts of Australia—as opposed to the enormous, noisy cities where a Kookaburra couldn’t even make himself heard above the racket of traffic and such!
I am commanded to laugh in the tune’s third line, and I must say that there is plenty to chuckle at out here in the wild country. When I laugh, it sounds as if I’m repeating my name over and over, and it’s similar to loud, echoing human laughter. My guffaws are so distinctive that my voice has been featured in several movies. It’s made me think seriously of building a second home in the trees of Hollywood.
Finally, the first stanza ends by supposing that my life must be quite gay. The modern connotation of this statement does not accurately describe me, as I want to assure you that I am strictly a “ladies’ man.” Nowadays, I prefer to be known as “merry” or “jolly,” rather than gay. I do consider myself to be the life of the party, since I’m always good for a laugh, you know!
Oh, excuse me, I hear my mates calling and must fly. I will say “hooroo” (or “adieu”!) for now. It was nice meeting you! Don’t forget to listen for me in films!
You can find the lyrics to the Kookaburra song at KIDiddles.com
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