Be Careful What You Wish
The Two Doves
Two doves, White-coat and Blue-feather, lived in a dovecote. They were brothers and were very fond of each other. White-coat was a great home body, but Blue-feather liked to travel.
One day Blue-feather said to White-coat, "I want to see the world. This place is very tame. I have lived here all my life (he was only six months old) and have seen all there is to see. I want to visit other countries."
"Don't go, Blue-feather," said White-coat. "We have all we want to eat here, everyone is kind, and we have a good home. I have heard that in other places men set traps for birds or shoot them, and that sometimes large hawks swoop down and carry them off. You might be caught out in a storm and find no shelter; besides, it would almost kill me to be separated from you long. You might be able to bear it, but not I. Surely it is best to stay at home."
Just then a crow cawed. "Do you hear that crow, brother?" asked White-coat. "It seems to say, 'You will be sorry if you go.' Do not go. Take his warning. See, too, it is raining. If you must go, do put it off until a better time."
"White-coat, why do you make such a fuss about nothing? I shall not be gone more than three days; then you shall hear of all the wonderful things I saw. I shall tell what happened to me from the beginning of my journey until its close. It will be almost as good as going yourself."
"I do not care about the world," said White-coat. "How can I let you go! You will find me watching for you at whatever time of day or night you reach home. I can not eat, I can not sleep, with you away."
At this, they said a sad goodbye to each other, and Blue-feather flew away.
A dark cloud covered the sky. Blue-feather looked about for shelter. He flew to the only tree near, but its leaves could not keep off the driving rain, so his coat was wet through and through.
When the sky was clear again, Blue-feather left the tree and dried his plumage as he flew.
On the borders of a wood he spied some scattered grains of wheat. He was hungry and saw no reason why he should not pick them up. As he flew down, a snare was drawn about him. The wheat had been put there to tempt pigeons so that they might get caught. It was well for Blue-feather that the snare had been in use a long time and was rotten. By using his beak and wings he got loose, but he lost a few feathers out of his pretty coat.
A hawk saw him as he rose. Blue-feather was dragging a piece of the string which he could not loosen from his leg. The hawk was about to seize him. It seemed as if there was no help for him. But just at that moment an eagle caught the hawk and carried him off.
Blue-feather flew as fast as he could to a high fence, where he stopped to rest. He thought his dangers were over. He was very homesick.
While Blue-feather was sitting on the fence, a boy saw him. He nearly killed the poor bird with a shot from his sling.
Blue-feather was just able to fly. His leg was lame, and one wing was hurt, but he steered straight for home.
Late at night he arrived at his own dovecote, tired and hungry, but happy to be safe at home again. He found White-coat waiting for him.
White-coat smoothed his poor brother's feathers, nestled close to him, and soothed him with his coo! coo! coo!
More Fairy Tales and Fables
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