Blackbird and Owl
by Tracey Glasspool
Blackbird was a bird of the day. He loved sunshine and rainbows, butterflies and sunflowers, green leaves and cotton-wool clouds. He loved singing with the other birds and swooping through the brilliant blue skies.
But Blackbird couldn’t help wondering what happened when he went to sleep. Sometimes, just as he was settling into his nest with heavy, half-closed eyes, he caught glimpses of the deep, dark night and of shadowy, fluttery shapes.
“What is the world like when the sun goes down?” he asked the other birds. But they stretched their tired wings, rubbed their sleepy eyes, and did not know.
So one evening, Blackbird decided to find out. Fluffing up his feathers and feeling very brave, Blackbird flew into a dark, dark wood. It was very still and very quiet as Blackbird flew deeper into the wood.
The trees whispered as he passed. Only the wind through the leaves, Blackbird thought to himself, glancing around.
A shadowy shape slid below him. “Only a deer heading for home” Blackbird whispered, fluffing his feathers even more.
Something brushed against a wing. “Only a twig falling to the ground,” Blackbird said, then shivered, not feeling nearly so brave anymore.
Out of the dark came a voice. “HOOO, HOOO. WHOOO are YOOOU?”
Blackbird whirled to see two enormous glowing eyes. “I… I’m Blackbird,” he said in a small and shaky voice.
“WHAT ARE YOOOU DOOOING IN MY WOODS?” said the strange voice.
Blackbird took a deep breath and puffed out his chest. “I wanted to see what the world was like when the sun went down,” he said, as bravely as he could.
The soft grey owl smiled. “Then come with me, little Blackbird, and I’ll show you,” she said.
So Owl and Blackbird flew off together.
Owl showed Blackbird her night-time world. Together they gazed at the pale, glowing moon and the shimmering stars. They chased the fluttering moths and the swooping bats. They whispered to hedgehog and badger under the trees. Blackbird stayed with Owl for many nights and the two became friends.
“How beautiful your world is!” Blackbird said to Owl.
But after a while, Blackbird began to miss the bright, busy, bustle of day. He shivered under the pale moon.
“Dear Owl,” he said. “I miss my garden and the sunshine.”
Owl thought for a moment. “Will you show me what the world is like when the sun comes up?” she asked.
“Of course,” said Blackbird. So he and Owl flew off together.
Blackbird showed Owl his day-time world. Together they raced under the yellow sun and the cotton-wool clouds. They chased the busy butterflies and the buzzing bees. They laughed with duck and otter in the stream. Owl stayed with Blackbird for many days and the two became the best of friends.
“How dazzling your world is!” Owl said to Blackbird.
But soon Owl began to miss the cool, calm, quiet of night. She felt dizzy under the hot sun.
“Dear Blackbird,” said Owl. “I miss my wood and the moon. You’re my best friend, but I can’t live in the day.”
“You’re my best friend,” Blackbird said to Owl. “But I can’t live in the night.” And so, sadly, the two friends said goodbye.
Owl was glad to be in her cool, dark wood. But gazing at the moon and swooping with the bats wasn’t the same without Blackbird. Each morning, as the sun came up, she sadly went to sleep thinking of her friend.
Blackbird was glad to be in his warm, bright garden. But racing through the treetops and fluttering with the butterflies wasn’t the same without Owl. Each evening, as the sun went down, he sadly went to sleep thinking of his friend.
Then one evening, as he was flying to his nest, Blackbird noticed something. It was not too dark for him. And it was not too bright for Owl. Blackbird had an idea.
He raced to the wood where Owl was just waking up.
“Blackbird!” cried Owl, delighted to see her friend.
“Owl!” cried Blackbird, landing on the branch beside her. “I have an idea!”
So now, every evening when the day is almost over, Blackbird flies to where the garden meets the wood. And in the warmth of dusk, when it is not too bright and not too dark, Blackbird and Owl play together and watch the sun go down.
Then every morning, when the night is almost over, Owl flies to where the wood meets the garden. And in the cool of dawn, when it is not too dark, and not too bright, Owl and Blackbird play together and watch the sun come up.
Sun and Moon, day and night, Blackbird and Owl – best of friends.
1. What did Blackbird want to find out?
2. Who did he meet in the woods at night?
3. What did Owl want Blackbird to show him?
4. What was Blackbird’s idea?
5. What time of day did Owl and Blackbird play together?