The Vain Goldfinch Learns A Lesson
: Daddy's Bedtime Bird Stories
"Mr. Goldfinch," said daddy, "was very conceited and proud of himself.
To be sure, a goldfinch's voice is very much like a canary's--but it's
not quite so lovely--and he can't do the wonderful trills a canary can
without his voice cracking. Of course, that isn't beautiful.
"So the fairy queen made plans. First of all, she asked the birds to
give her a concert, and gladly they all said they would.
"And the next day, on a row along the fence of an old country road, near
the woods, perched all the bullfinch family, the oriole family, the
bluejay family, the indigo bird family, and the goldfinch family.
"First of all they all sang in a beautiful chorus, and the fairy queen
and all the fairies were delighted.
"Before long the elves happened along by the old fence, and they said:
"'What's up? A concert? May we stay?'
"'By all means,' said the fairy queen, and then she whispered to the
elves her secret. The elves sat along the opposite fence and perched on
the fence between some of the birds, too.
"When the birds had finished singing in the chorus and were not
supposed to sing by themselves, they flew to the wings of the fairies
and perched there.
"You can imagine how lovely the fairies did look, with their bright
silver wings, and the beautiful birds with their bright colors perched
everywhere on the wings.
"'Now,' said the fairy queen, 'remember what I've asked for.'
"At that Mr. Bullfinch came out and sang in his sweet little way. He
didn't try to sing anything very big or hard, but he sang a little,
simple song, in the very best way he could.
"Soon Mr. Goldfinch came out to sing his solo. At first his song was
very fine and all the other birds cried, 'Bravo,' 'Wonderful,'
'Gorgeous,' at the end of the first verse. And they all sang these words
in their own little bird ways.
"But at the beginning of the second verse Mr. Goldfinch tried to sing a
trill that was too hard for him.
"And what do you suppose happened? Mr. Goldfinch's voice cracked, and
all the birds tittered and flew off the fence, chatting with each other.
"'Well, wasn't that a disgrace--and at the fairy queen's concert, too!'
"As for Mr. Goldfinch, he hid his head in shame and felt very wretched,
but the fairy queen waved her wand, and said to every one: 'This concert
was given so Mr. Goldfinch would learn to be natural and not try things
beyond him. We all like you as you are, without silly, vain
actions--sing us a simple song now, and we'll forgive you!'
"So Mr. Goldfinch learned he mustn't try to copy the canary."