The Great Bird Hunter
Scout knelt down behind the mossy side of the big elm tree and used her hands to smooth away the sticks and bark that had fallen beside the trunk. She took a stick and said to her younger brother, “Now pay attention Timmy, this is our plan.” Scout had two plans that day, for herself and her brother Timmy. They were going to set traps to catch a bird and a pony. Scout was 8, and her brother Timmy was 6 years old. Scout wanted nothing more than to have a bird and a pony, and this is how she was going to get them. “Ok Timmy, this is what we are going to do”, she whispered quietly into his sweaty grimy ear. “You see this cardboard box?” “We are going to hold it up with a stick, help me tie this kite string to it.” “No, Timmy that’s not right let me do it!” Timmy handed Scout the stick and the string, poking Scout with the end of the stick. Scout jumped on Timmy and they began rolling around in the dirt, fists and feet flying at each other. Scout and Timmy looked up to see Momma standing above them with a hedge branch in her hand. That’s all it took for Scout and Timmy to jump up both still grabbing for the stick. Momma said “you know what comes next don’t you two?” “Yes maam” they said at the same time. Scout turned to Timmy, Timmy turned to Scout and they gave each other a sweaty, grimy hug. Momma turned her head away so they would not see her smiling at the sight.
“Now what are you two up to?” Momma asked with a knowing smile. Scout proudly stepped forward and announced, “We are setting a trap for a bird and a pony” “oh” said Momma, “carry on!” “Oh kids, do you need some bread for the trap?” “and exactly what kind of trap are you planning to set to catch a pony?” momma asked. Scout thought to herself, I know exactly how I will catch a pony, and they will all be surprised when I do!Momma went back to the kitchen and began sewing a skirt for Scout, even though she knew she would rather wear her overalls, even to school if she could. Scout heard the sound of the sewing machine so she knew she had her brother all to herself again. “Ok Timmy, this time let me tie the string.” Timmy sat next to her in the dirt wiping sweat off his face with his striped t-shirt tail. (Missing the ring of dirt around his neck). Scout carefully tied the string to a stick and propped the corner of the cardboard box up so it would hold it up in the air, just waiting to be dropped down over a bird, trapping it inside. Scout ran to the house and asked momma for some old bread. Momma said “here is some stale bread, don’t let your brother eat it” Scout ran out of the house, across the yard to the old tree. She said “here Timmy, here’s some bread” Timmy bit into the stale bread holding it with grimy hands and a big grin on his face. “Thanks Scout!” he said with a mouthful of dough. She took the other 2 pieces and tore them into smaller pieces and rolled them into balls. Scout slowly and carefully placed 7 pieces of bread under the card board box and made a trail to the box with the other 3 tiny pieces. Laddie came from under the porch where he had been napping and sniffed the bread crumb trail. “Laddie no” cried Scout, Laddie grabbed one piece and scurried back under the porch with his prize, licking his lips with enjoyment.
The trap was set and now all Scout and Timmy had to do was wait. So they waited, and they waited and they waited. Finally Timmy said “I’m tired Scout” Scout said “but we have to wait!” Timmy said “I don’t want to catch no dumb bird.” By now Scout was lying on her tummy in the grass alone still waiting for the bird to come. Soon the crickets started chirping, meaning that night time was coming. It was getting dark and momma would be making her come into the house soon. Scout thought “maybe in the night I will catch a bird.”
The next morning Scout rushed to her window, the box had fallen! What could be inside? Scout jumped into her overalls and rushed barefoot across the yard to the trap. She could hear sounds in the box, and something hitting the inside. Laddie was running circles excitedly around the box barking and sniffing, looking up at Scout. By now a sleepy eyed, hair straight up on his head, still in his jammies brother was by her side.
Scout told Laddie to stay back and carefully lifted the box. Inside she found a tiny brown bird! She had caught her bird!
Scout began to reach for the bird when she realized it was hurt. It tried to fly but she could see it had hurt itself trying to get out of the box. Scout let the box drop back down over the injured bird and began to run to the house sobbing and crying out for momma. Timmy just sat there in the dirt, with his hand on Laddie’s collar. Scout ran up the steps into the kitchen where momma was making breakfast. “Momma, Momma, help me I did an awful thing momma!” “What is it Scout?” Momma said with knowing concern. “Timmy and I set a trap for a bird and momma we caught it, but its hurt now momma its hurt!” “I don’t know what to do!” “Well Scout, I think when the bird found out it wasn’t free anymore; it tried anything to be free again, even if it meant hurting itself trying to get out.” Momma moved the skillet from the stove top. “Let’s go see” Momma said.
Momma took Scout by the hand and led her back to the box, the box was quiet now. Timmy was still sitting in the dirt holding Laddie by his collar. Momma said “Scout you sit down here with me and lift the box while I reach under.” “Ok Momma” Scout sniffled as she gently and slowly lifted up the box. Just as Momma reached under the box, the little bird flew out and up into the air, Laddie made a leap into the air, just missing the flying bird, dragging poor Timmy along for the ride.
Everyone laughed and cried to see the little bird fly away. Scout sat down on Momma’s lap, and laid her head on momma’s shoulder. “Momma I am so sorry I hurt the little bird” “I thought I wanted a bird to keep in a cage, but now I’ve learned my lesson, I need to stick to trappin’ ponies!” Momma smiled.