English short stories ; Fables for Children
The Jackdaw and the Doves
Grain for breakfast
In a village by the sea there stands an old church. The church has a tower. On the tower lives a family of jackdaws. Jackdaws are birds black noisy full of fun Near the church is a farmhouse The farmhouse has a large roof On the roof lives a family of doves Doves? They are birds too white quiet loving and peaceful Every morning the farmhouse door opens Out comes the farmer's wife She is carrying a basket of grain She throws some of the grain onto the ground The doves fly up from the roof They circle around in the air They come down in the garden by the farmhouse door They eat the grain This happens every morning
Rough rude and greedy
One morning someone up on the church tower was watching. It was a young jackdaw. He saw the farmer's wife and the bag of grain He saw the doves pecking away in the garden Breakfast said the jackdaw to himself He jumped from the tower He flew to the farmhouse garden He came down in the middle of the doves Who's this the doves asked one another Is it one of those nasty jackdaws What is he doing here? Did anyone ask him to come? Look at him pecking at our grain like that How rough How rude How greedy.
The doves looked at one another What should they do Then they knew They jumped on the jackdaw They began to peck him on the head They stood on his wings They pulled his tail feathers They were not sweet or gentle or peaceful Well they were quite angry
Get off Ow get away Stop pulling my tail feathers Ouch Don't keep pecking me on the head Oh all right I'm going said the jackdaw And he flew back to the church tower His breakfast had been a small one all day long the young jackdaw sat on the tower thinking By the evening he had a plan
The happy jackdaw
The next morning he woke early when it was still dark He flew down to the farmhouse A window was open He got into the farmhouse kitchen He found a large bag of flour there He jumped in He flapped his wings He got flour all over himself In five minutes he was as white as a ghost He was also as white as a dove.
Quietly and carefully he came back through the window He walked round the side of the farmhouse He went into the farmhouse garden. There was a large bush there He hid himself under the bush and waited. Soon after that the sun came up. The jackdaw stayed where he was hiding under the bush He could hear the doves They were on the roof They were enjoying the warm early morning sunlight They were talking quietly to one another.
The farmhouse door opened Out came the farmer's wife Down went the grain Up flew the doves They circled around in the air and came down in the garden . As quick as lightning the jackdaw jumped from the bush He joined the breakfast party No one noticed The jackdaw started pecking at the grain He was beginning to enjoy himself How well his plan had worked he thought He felt very happy.
Now a jackdaw who is happy likes to tell everyone He makes himself as tall as can He flaps his wings He shouts to all the world JACK JACK JACK. Which as you may have guessed is why these birds are called jackdaws. This young jackdaw was feeling very pleased He wanted to do what all happy jackdaws do He wanted all his jackdaw brothers and sisters to know how clever he was But he kept quiet He didn't flap his wings He just went on pecking at the grain He just went on enjoying a very good breakfast.
The Jackdaw and the Doves
The jackdaw you remember had joined the doves breakfast party He had got white flour all over himself He thought that would make him look like a dove He had hidden under a bush The farmer's wife had opened the door She had thrown the grain down The doves had flown up from the roof Then they had come down in the garden The jackdaw had joined them There were twenty or thirty birds in that garden.
They were all pecking away at the grain together It was crowded There were some small accidents One of the doves bumped into the jackdaw Whoops Oh so sorry said the dove The jackdaw looked up Their eyes met. Then the dove looked harder at the jackdaw I say said the dove are you new here What a beautiful dove you are I don't think I have ever seen a bird as pretty as you Oh what a dear little thing. The jackdaw had made a friend.
Then the dove began to walk around the jackdaw The dove walked slowly He bowed low at every step He spoke in his sweetest voice. The plan had worked The dove thought the jackdaw was a dove. But perhaps the plan had worked too well The dove thought the jackdaw was a young lady dove He had fallen in love This can happen quickly with doves The dove moved closer.
My love my love he began My dearest sweetest prettiest little love What The jackdaw looked up He thought carefully Why was the dove saying these things He thought more carefully. Then Aaaaark he cried out loudly Aaaaark Aaaaark Aaaaark. What did he mean by that Perhaps Excuse me sir but I believe you have made a mistake.
It was a loud ugly noise No dove would ever make a nasty noise like that The other doves stopped pecking at the grain They all looked up Now they all knew that the pretty new bird was not a lady They also knew that that bird was not a dove.
It's that jackdaw again All together the doves jumped on the jackdaw They pecked his head They stood on his wings They pulled his feathers They were not sweet or gentle or peaceful. Get off Ow Stop that Let go of me cried the jackdaw again and again. At last the doves let him go. He flew up out of the garden He went straight back to the church tower.
A warm welcome
The jackdaw's family were all together on top of the church tower They were having a meeting Into the middle of this meeting flew a strange looking bird Its feathers were pulled about and untidy Some were white Some were black What is this shouted grandfather jackdaw in great surprise Black and white feathers It's a magpie We don't want any magpies here Nasty thieves that's what magpies are Come on boys and girls Let's teach him a lesson.
The young jackdaw thought he would get a nice warm welcome He thought his mother would give him something to eat Perhaps a bit of grasshopper or a few ants This did not happen. What did happen was warm but in a quite different way The young jackdaw got his second beating that morning.
The young jackdaw spent the rest of that day away from home He was hiding in the bushes near the church tower He was trying to shake flour out of his feathers While he was doing that what was he thinking Was he making up a new plan Or was he saying to himself I have learnt my lesson I can make myself look white. I can keep quiet I can be sweet and gentle But that is not enough To be a dove I must stop being a jackdaw and I can't do that I know now that it is not in the nature of a jackdaw to be like a dove.