Some of you may have met this "small bright creature" before - in the Editor Unleashed forums. This is one of several small tales featuring this, a favorite character of mine. Together they form a journey through a day - an Odyssey if you will, through this is no Ulysses nor am I any James Joyce (or Homer).
I hope you enjoy the tale.
I hope you enjoy the tale.
"It's a very cheery day," said the small bright creature, stretching up as tall as it could reach. "A day for adventures."
So saying, it skipped along the path from its home - off to greet the day. The sun, through the covering of the trees, made alternate patterns of golden light and shadow.
Birds hopped from branch to branch, singing.
It was time for breakfast...
The small bright creature sounded very agitated.
"But you can't do that!"
The magpie tilted its head in the quick, sharp way it had.
"Can't? 'Can't' can't count, now can it?" it said, "I have clearly done it!"
It laughed, a harsh mocking sound, at its own cleverness.
The small bright creature pointed to the silver chain on the magpie's side of the table.
"But, that belongs to someone."
"Yes," replied the magpie, "me!"
It laughed again and pecked at the breakfast in front of it. The small bright creature looked very unhappy.
"It's not as if you just found it, and even then...".
"Found it? Yes, I did. I found it."
The magpie's voice rose excitedly at the end of each of its sentences. A number of the other patrons, who were also eating breakfast, looked around.
"It was there, just lying there, on the dressing table. Right beside the window. That's where I found it!"
The magpie picked up the chain and it flashed in the light, the silver a strong contrast to the jet black of its beak. With a quick flick of its head, the chain went around its neck and swung back and forth.
The small bright creature's eyes followed the swinging until it almost got dizzy.
"It does look very nice."
"Of course it does!" the magpie said excitedly. "I wouldn't have taken it if it didn't."
"So, you DID take it."
The magpie laughed again.
"Only after I found it, not before."
The small bright creature sighed and shook its head.
"I still say that we can't just go around taking things that we like, just because we like them."
The magpie regarded its breakfast companion, turning its head this way and that, looking first with its left eye, then with its right.
"Very well, I agree with you."
The small bright creature brightened.
"Yes. We can't all go about doing that. So, I'll tell you what. You don't do it. Leave that to me."
The room rang with the magpie's laughter. It hopped back and forth, its tail waving up and down in time with its laughter.
The small bright creature looked uncomfortable.
"I still can't believe that we can just go taking things, even if we find them, just because we like them. They really belong to someone else, even if they are very pretty."
The magpie wasn't paying attention. It was looking around where they were eating, eying the silverware on the table next to them.
The small bright creature saw where it was looking.
"No. You can't do that!"
"Can't?", said the magpie. "Who says I can't?"
It hopped agitatedly from foot to foot, pecking at the remains of its breakfast.
"Well then, I can't stay where people are just telling me 'I can't do this, I can't do that'."
The small bright creature looked at it in astonishment.
"No. What I meant was simply...eeeek!"
With a flurry of wings the magpie soared into the sky, its harsh mocking laugh filling the air.
"But, but what about paying for your..."
The small bright creature stopped talking as a single blue-black feather floated down.
"Oh! That is really very pretty."
It admired the feather that had come to rest on the table and wondered how much the breakfast bill would come to - and how it might pay for it.