IN a great forest, high up among the green boughs, lived Bird Brown-Breast, and his
bright-eyed little mate. They were now very happy; their home was done, the four blue
eggs lay in the soft nest, and the little wife sat still and patient on them, while the husband
sang, and told her charming tales, and brought her sweet berries and little worms.
Things went smoothly on, till one day she found in the nest a little white egg, with a
golden band about it.
"My friend," cried she, "come and see! Where can this fine egg have come from? My
four are here, and this also; what think you of it?"
The husband shook his head gravely, and said, "Be not alarmed, my love; it is doubtless
some good Fairy who has given us this, and we shall find some gift within; do not let us
touch it, but do you sit carefully upon it, and we shall see in time what has been sent us."
So they said nothing about it, and soon their home had four little chirping children; and
then the white egg opened, and, behold, a little maiden lay singing within. Then how
amazed were they, and how they welcomed her, as she lay warm beneath the mother's
wing, and how the young birds did love her.
Great joy was in the forest, and proud were the parents of their family, and still more of
the little one who had come to them; while all the neighbors flocked in, to see Dame
Brown-Breast's little child. And the tiny maiden talked to them, and sang so merrily, that
they could have listened for ever. Soon she was the joy of the whole forest, dancing from
tree to tree, making every nest her home, and none were ever so welcome as little Bud;
and so they lived right merrily in the green old forest.
The father now had much to do to supply his family with food, and choice morsels did he
bring little Bud. The wild fruits were her food, the fresh dew in the flower-cups her drink,
while the green leaves served her for little robes; and thus she found garments in the
flowers of the field, and a happy home with Mother Brown-Breast; and all in the wood,
from the stately trees to the little mosses in the turf, were friends to the merry child.
And each day she taught the young birds sweet songs, and as their gay music rang
through the old forest, the stern, dark pines ceased their solemn waving, that they might
hear the soft sounds stealing through the dim wood-paths, and mortal children came to
listen, saying softly, "Hear the flowers sing, and touch them not, for the Fairies are here."
Then came a band of sad little Elves to Bud, praying that they might hear the sweet
music; and when she took them by the hand, and spoke gently to them, they wept and
said sadly, when she asked them whence they came,--