The Cardinal Bird And The Robin





"The cardinal bird," said daddy, "is a very superior bird and will not

come down to the ground. The lowest he will come is to a bush, but he

never hops along the woods or lawns, no, not he!



"One day Robin Redbreast was walking on a green lawn. He stopped several

times to pick up a worm from the ground, swallow it whole and then walk

along. In a tree nearby he spied the cardinal bird.



"'Hello,' he said cheerily. 'Won't you come and have a worm with me?

There are a number in this lawn, and the good rain we had last night has

made the ground so nice and soft. Do join me,' he ended with a bright

chirp.



"'No, thank you,' said the cardinal bird. 'I wouldn't soil my feet on

that ground. I hate the ground, absolutely hate it.' And the cardinal

bird looked very haughty and proud.



"'Come now,' said Robin Redbreast, 'you won't get your feet dirty. And

if you do,' he whispered knowingly, 'I can lead you to the nicest brook

where you can wash them off with fresh rain water. Do come!'



"'I cannot,' said the cardinal bird. 'I do not like the earth. I want to

be flying in the air, or sitting on the branches of trees. Sometimes I

will perch for a little while on a laurel bush--but come any lower? Dear

me, no, I couldn't.'



"'It's a great shame,' said Robin Redbreast. 'Of course there is no

accounting for taste.'



"'Thank you for inviting me,' added the cardinal bird politely. For he

prided himself on his good manners.



"Pretty soon some people came along. At once they noticed the beautiful

cardinal bird. He wore his best red suit which he wears all the

time--except in the winter, when he adds gray to his wings. His collar

and tie were of black and his feathers stuck up on top of his head so as

to make him look very stylish and fine.



"'Oh, what a wonderful bird!' said the people. Mr. Cardinal Bird knew

they were admiring him, of course--and so did Robin Redbreast. No one

had noticed him, but he didn't care, for he knew Mr. Cardinal Bird was

by far the more beautiful, and a robin hasn't a mean disposition.



"Well, when the cardinal bird heard the praise he began to sing--a

glorious high voice he had, and he sounded his clear notes over

and over again. Then suddenly he stopped, cocked his head on one

side, as though to say,



"'And what do you think of me now?'



"From down on the ground Robin Redbreast had been listening. 'Oh, that

was wonderful, wonderful!' he trilled.



"'Listen to that dear little robin,' said one of the people. 'I must get

him some bread crumbs.'



"When the bread crumbs were scattered over the ground, Robin Redbreast

invited the cardinal bird down again thinking they were for him! But the

beautiful, proud bird would not come down, and the people were saying,

'After all there is nothing quite so nice as a dear little robin.'"





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