Chippy's Visit to the Kindergarten
"O H, yes, it's all very fine to say that we will get caught, but I don't believe it, one single bit," said Chippy to his sisters and brothers, as they all sat on the fence, in the bright sunshine. "Mother just wants us to stay here all the time, and we won't ever know anything if we don't go around. I am going to see for myself, some day;" and he gave his head a toss and his tail a fling.
"Oh, Chippy," cried all the other little birds, "how can you talk so? Dear mother is so kind and good to us. Why, she knows everything, and takes us everywhere that it is right for us to go."
"Well, I don't care," again said Chippy, giving his head another toss. "There is Toppy Sparrow, and all his family, who go up on a roof every day, and have lovely times. There are lots of nice crumbs thrown out for them, and even windows left wide open, and they can fly right into a room if they want to. No harm has ever come to them. Toppy wanted me to go with them one time, but mother wouldn't let me. I am so tired of this old place." But the other little birds said nothing, and soon Chippy saw some bread on the ground, and flew down to eat it.
Now this family of birds had their home near a large school. Chippy had long wanted to know, and see, what went on inside of it. Whenever he told his mother he would like to peep in the windows, she would say, "Why, Chippy Brown, don't let me hear of your going near those windows. If you do, something dreadful will happen to you, I know."
She let them play in the yard, while the children were in school, but when recess time came, she flew away with them all, to their home behind the chimney on the church. This bright morning their mother went to call on Mrs. Sparrow, her sister, and Chippy and his brothers and sisters came, and sat on the school fence. He tried to get one of them to fly up to the window with him, but no one would go.
At last he said, "Well, I'll go by myself. You will know nothing if you stay at home all the time." So he started off.
"Oh, Chippy, don't go, don't go—you will get killed," cried all the other birds. But he wouldn't listen, and up he flew to the window. It was open a little bit, and he looked in. "It looks nice in there; I am sure nothing will hurt me." So in he went.
The room was full of children, but he was so quiet no one heard him. He rested on the shutter and looked all around the room. "I wonder what they are doing?" he said, as he saw the children sitting quietly at the table, drawing. "I would like to pop down and see, but I guess I'd better stay here a little longer."
Very soon the work was put away, and the children marched to the circle. Chippy now opened his eyes very wide. He saw the children fly like birds, and fly so quickly, he couldn't begin to keep up with them; and he felt his eyes growing crossed, in his efforts to see which boy or girl could fly best. He was very much mixed, but enjoyed the games.
"They're awfully smart," he said, as they marched to their seats. "Mother would like to see them, I know. She says we were so long learning to fly."
Then the children folded their hands and sang. But they did not know that a little bird heard them sing the song of the girl who wanted to bring in a little snow-bird, and put shoes and stockings on him, because he was cold.
"What a kind little girl," said Mr. Chippy. "I don't think, though, that I would care to wear shoes and stockings. It would be so much trouble to put them on every day."
Chippy was happy, and began to think the Kindergarten a
pleasant place, and that he was learning lots. "Won't I
surprise them all at home,
He was about to do so, when all the children stood up; so he thought he would wait and see what was going to happen. The teacher began to count, and up came the children's hands and arms. This made Chippy laugh—he thought they were having lots of fun. All of a sudden, as the hands came up over their heads, there was a loud crash,—like thunder, it sounded to Chippy. He was so frightened, he forgot where he was, and down he tumbled. He fell on something, and his feet caught, and he couldn't move. Oh, how his little heart fluttered! He had fallen on a little girl's head, and caught in her hair, which was short and curly. She screamed, and the teacher came to see what was the matter, and there lay our poor little Chippy, almost dead. She took him from the little girl's head, and held him in her hand. He was too frightened to do anything, and couldn't speak. When he heard her say, "Poor little Chippy, you are frightened to death," he thought it was his brothers and sisters saying, "Chippy, don't go; you'll get killed!" So he closed his eyes, and rolled over in the teacher's hands, for he thought he must now die. But in a moment or two he gave his wings a little flutter, and then she said, "Why, he isn't dead. We will put him out on the window-sill, and the fresh air will do him good."
So she opened the window and left him on the sill. And, sure enough, the fresh air did make him feel so much better that he was soon able to open his eyes and look around. He saw the fence, where he had left his brothers and sisters a little while ago. "Oh, dear! I wish I could see mother; I feel so sick, and want to go home," he said. "I believe I'll try and fly to the corner, and see if they are there." So he flew down to the yard, and there found the whole family. When they saw him, they came to meet him, saying, "Oh, Chippy dear, we are so glad you have come. Where have you been?" But Chippy was too weak to say a word, and would have fallen over had not his mother caught him. She tucked him under her wing, and kept him warm all the rest of the day.
That night, when they had gone to their home in the warm chimney corner, Chippy told her what he had seen and heard in the Kindergarten, and how nice he had thought it was, until the children clapped their hands, and frightened him so, and he did not want to go there again.
"Well, Chippy," said his mother, "I have always told you it was best for little birds to stay with their mother. I was unhappy while you were gone. Now you must never go away again," and Chippy said he wouldn't and he has kept his promise to this day.