The Crows At The Fairies' Ball
: Daddy's Bedtime Bird Stories
"The fairies had one of their fine balls just two evenings ago,"
"Among their guests were the brownies, elves, gnomes, many of the
birds, butterflies, humming-birds, red lizards, grasshoppers, and
crickets. The crickets had arranged to sing for the dancing and the
humming-birds said they would hum the tunes all the time that the
crickets sang. The robins sang some extra songs, and, of course,
other birds joined in the chorus.
"Then came supper time. The table was made of daisies and moss, and such
delicacies! Well, it would have made your mouth water!
"They had the goodies that every guest would enjoy most. Not a guest
was forgotten. There were even little worms for the birds--and the
other guests didn't mind at all, as they knew the robins and orioles
and other bird guests loved little worms. They were given to the birds
in special dishes made of grass.
"But just as all the guests sat down to supper the fairy queen said:
'Come, all my fine waiters!' And as she said this she waved her wand
high in the air.
"Then from far and near the blackest of black crows flew down and
alighted all around the table. They had promised the fairy queen to be
just as good as good could be, and to wait on all the guests before
they had anything at all to eat. They were quite willing to do this,
for they had never been invited to a ball given by the fairies before
and they were highly flattered.
"They all had had their black suits polished and brushed with the
greatest care and they wore very fine aprons and hats made of green
leaves. Every time a guest said 'Thank you' when anything was passed, a
crow would say, 'Caw-caw,' which means 'You're welcome.'
"The crows always say 'Caw-caw' to almost everything, but it is just
the tone they use that makes the 'Caw-caw' mean something quite
different each time they want it to. At the end of the supper, after the
crows had had a feast, too, the fairy queen asked them if they wouldn't
sing the old, old song about blackbirds being baked in a pie.
"At first the crows looked a bit sad, but then they said: 'Why, of
course, we'll be happy to sing it. It's lots of fun to sing about such
things after we have had a feast and know quite well that the fairy
queen wouldn't bake us in a pie.'
"How the guests did laugh to hear the crows singing about blackbirds
being baked in a pie--and stopping every minute to shout out, 'Not us,
though, oh, no!'--and the fairy queen was delighted."