Jolly Robin Learns To Fly
Jolly Robin had just gulped down the fat worm that his father had used to coax him out of the nest.
And now he clung desperately to the limb. With no food in sight he had plenty of time to look around. And he was very alarmed!
The day would not be over before he had another great fright.
Just then, Jolly lost his grip on the limb and tumbled out of the apple tree and fell squawking and fluttering to the ground.
Luckily his mother went to Jolly immediately and told him, “Do not be afraid. Nothing will hurt you,” she said, “if you’ll only keep still. But if you squawk like that, the cat will find you.”
His mother’s words frightened Jolly very much. They scared him so that he stopped making the noise. And that was how he learned the lesson never to talk when he was on the ground near a house where a cat might live.
“Now,” said mother, as soon as Jolly was still, “I’ll teach you a new game. Just watch me!” She spread her wings, she flapped them and sprang into the air.
Soon Jolly was trying to imitate her. And it was not long before he found himself gliding a short distance, skimming along just off the ground.
But, in spite of all his efforts, he couldn’t help falling again and again. Though his mother tried to show him how to fly into a tree top, Jolly seemed unable to learn that trick.
At last Mr. Robin said to his wife, “I’ll teach him the rest. You’ve made a good beginning. But he must learn more quickly. There is no telling when the cat may come into the orchard to hunt for field mice. And you know what would happen then.”
His wife shuddered. But Mr. Robin told her not to worry. “I’ll soon have this youngster flying as well as anyone,”
So he began to hop about on the ground with Jolly for a little while showing him how to find worms beneath the grass carpet of the orchard.
And then, in a loud voice, Mr. Robin suddenly cried, “The cat! The cat!” And he flew into an old tree nearby.
Jolly Robin had never seen Farmer Gable’s cat, but he had heard that she was a dreadful, fierce creature. And when his father shouted her name Jolly was so startled that he forgot he didn’t know how to fly. Before he knew what he was doing, he had followed his father right up into the old apple tree and perched himself on the low branch next to him.
That was the way Jolly learned to fly. And as soon as he realized that he had actually flown from the ground to the bough of the tree, he was so pleased with himself that he began to sing merrily. And he never had the least bit of trouble about flying ever again.
As for the cat, she was not in the orchard at all. In fact, Jolly’s father had not really said that she was. He had just played a joke on his son.
In fact, that is how Jolly came upon his name. Until then, he hadn’t been formally named, but when his father saw how heartily his son laughed at the joke, he immediately named him “Jolly”. And Jolly he has remained ever since.
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