The story of a wagtail fledgeling

My mom and I always have a lot to talk about. She often tells me these little stories about something she noticed in her garden or on one of her walks in the woods — sketches, as she calls them. It can be the most mundane of things but she takes so much joy in sharing them with me, and I — in listening to her. I asked her to start putting some of them in writing so that I could translate them and share through this blog. Hopefully, it will be a regular thing. It would mean the world to me.

Here’s sketch #1.


The story of a wagtail fledgeling


I’m not feeling so well. Pain and fear are holding me in their grip. I’m in my garden; life is bubbling around me: ants, butterflies, diligent bumble-bees…

Suddenly, the wind picks up. And — oh my — it is at this very hour that a family of wagtails has decided to give their fledgeling his first flight lesson. He was weak, and the strong wind pressured him against the ground. He wasn’t exactly flying but kind of crawling on the ground. The upset parents were fretting around him and tried to explain something.

I came a little nearer and took a good look at the chick. One of his legs was crumpled. Poor fellow… I moved him to a patch of soft grass by a boulder.

After a while, I couldn’t find him — the birds probably chaperoned him deeper into the thicket. What fools!, I though to myself. That place is run by six cats who survived the winter outdoors and turned properly wild (I will tell their story another time). Exceptional hunters, even when it comes to catching adult birds!

My thoughts kept returning to the chick. Where is he? Is he alive?

At night, I was awoken by a mighty thunderstorm. It was pouring buckets. The cold wind was rocking the trees. Again, I thought about the chick. As far as I could judge, he had no chance of staying alive.

By the time the morning arrived, the stormy weather had all but dissipated. The sun was shining brightly. And… what’s that?! The wagtails are at it again, fretting and chattering. They’re not even running away from me.

I turned around. A miracle! In a big ceramic pot with a flowering plant, there he was basking in the sun — yesterday’s chick. He seemed oblivious to both myself and his parents. He was beaming with bliss. He got through it. He survived.

I walked away not to disturb him. Summer went on.

To me, that little creature is the toughest fighter. Even when it seems like there’s no hope.

[by Nina T.; translated from Russian]


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