Birds loved coming to Beatrice Barnfeather’s garden. It was a lovely place. There were trees and flowers of every sort; bottle brushes and honey suckle; lavender, daisies and violets - and sweet smelling jasmine. While Beatrice Barnfeather worked among the flowers, the birds kept her company as they sat in the trees or fluttered around the garden beds.
Early each day, Beatrice Barnfeather would always give the birds something special to eat. She put bird seed out in trays and fresh syrup in sipping bottles which she fastened upside down in tree branches. Mind you, she didn’t over-feed them. The birds seemed to understand that this food was an extra treat and still took their main meals from the plants and grass seeds, or insects and little caterpillars they found in Beatrice’s garden.
Sometimes the old lady felt a little lonely with only birds for friends. But most of the time the birds and Beatrice Barnfeather were very happy together. Little wrens and sparrows showed no fear as they pecked around Beatrice as she worked in her garden. And Willy Wagtails hopped about, swooping on flies in between the bushes and flowers.
The beautiful red and green parrot was a special favourite with Beatrice. He was handsome and intelligent. Beatrice often talked to him and he seemed to understand all she said. She loved his colours and he kept a kindly watch over her.
It was a happy situation; seeds in the feeding trays, syrup in the sipping bottles, bird songs in the air and a beautiful garden to share.
But, one day, when the birds arrived for their early morning treat, there was nothing there. The next day was the same. And the next. No seed on the trays. No syrup in the sipping bottles. And NO Beatrice Barnfeather.
The birds chitter-chattered amongst themselves as they looked for their friend. A few lazy birds, who had been relying on Beatrice Barnfeather to feed them, began to complain crossly as their hunger forced them to find food in the trees and grasses.
The birds flew in every day, but many days passed and still Beatrice Barnfeather did not appear. Still not a sign of fresh seed or syrup.
And gradually the birds stopped looking in the feeding trays and bottles at “Barnfeather Cottage”. Many of them stayed away altogether, finding their food in places far away. Only a few continued their daily visit to Beatrice Barnfeather’s garden. It was a sad state of affairs.
One day, as the red and green parrot was flying further afield on his daily search for seeds, he flew near a large building on the edge of the town. By chance, he glanced in at a window and could hardly believe what he saw: There was Beatrice Barnfeather lying on a bed. She looked still and pale and very small.
In the big building there were lots of other beds with people in them. Some looked ill, some had bandages or plaster on parts of them, but none looked as sad and lonely as Beatrice Barnfeather.
The parrot was puzzled by what he saw and returned several times to peer through the window at his old friend. He noticed that the other people had lots of cards and flowers by their beds. He saw visitors come to cheer them up. But Beatrice had no cards or flowers. And no visitors came to see her.
The red and green parrot set off to find the other birds. He told them of what he had seen. They came to look at Beatrice Barnfeather through the window. They felt sad and thought of how she had been such a good friend to them over the years. And, as they talked about her kindness, they decided that they must do something for her.
The next morning, the birds were busy as soon as the sun was up. They had things to do in Beatrice Barnfeather’s flower garden. They flitted here and there; picking, picking, picking. (And a little tidying up as well.)
After a while, they were ready to go. And, then, what a surprise!
People in the hospital stared in wonder and amazement as birds of every kind flew through the main doors and into the big building. In each bird’s beak was a flower from Beatrice Barnfeather’s garden. Led by the red and green parrot, the birds found their way to the bedside of Beatrice Barnfeather. They placed the flowers on, around and over the bed. They daintily perched wherever they could and gently sang their sweetest songs.
And, oh, the joy that was to be seen on Beatrice Barnfeather’s face. And, as she smiled, the rosy colour began to return to her cheeks. And everyone knew that Beatrice Barnfeather was going to get better.
Well, that was many weeks ago. And now Beatrice Barnfeather is back in her garden. Once again, you can see her each morning, putting seeds and syrup out for the birds.
She often has other visitors too. A lady called Bonnie, who saw the birds in the hospital, calls in to see Beatrice nearly every day. And Bonnie brings her little baby with her to enjoy the beautiful garden and the beautiful birds.
Now there is Beatrice Barnfeather, the birds, Bonnie and the baby in the beautiful garden. Everyone is happy and Beatrice Barnfeather is never lonely.