BeeOasis Step 3
The forest was thick, and the grass was tall. We walked quietly and carefully by the bank of the river. We were in the shade of the trees, but the river danced with the light of the afternoon sun. “Watch out for snakes,” my father said softly.
“Snakes?” I gasped. “Why didn’t you tell me there might be snakes? You know that I hate snakes.” I looked down at the tall grass, and then up at the thick trees. There were no snakes. But now I was afraid.
My father pointed to a tree up ahead, next to the water. He said, “Let’s go there. That place is perfect. From there we can see the most beautiful bird in this forest.”
My father was right. There was an open space below the tree. It was surrounded by tall grass. From there we could see the river, and we could see many trees and branches. We could see all around, but we could not easily be seen.
Then we waited. We looked around and saw many birds. There were robins, crows, and ducks, but not the most beautiful bird. As we waited and watched, time seemed to stand still. It became hotter, and I became bored.
I sat down under the tree and opened my lunch. And there we ate. The food tasted good. Cheese, nuts, bread cakes, and apples. Waiting and waiting had made me hungry.
Then, just as I was finishing my last bite of apple, my father said, “Don’t move!”
I looked at him. His eyes were open wide. But he was not looking at a bird, and he was not looking at me. He was looking right above my head. I started to look up, and again my father said, “Don’t move.” His voice was serious but calm.
He grabbed a stick, and he slowly moved it around to my left. Then he moved it up above my head. The stick softly hit the tree above my head, and then my father moved the stick down to my right.
Finally, I looked. At the end of the stick was a small green snake. When I saw it, my face became hot, and I could hear my heart beating in my chest. “I told you that I hate snakes!” I said, almost in tears.
Using the stick, my father threw the snake into the tall grass. Then he said, “Don’t worry. It’s only a rat snake. They’re not poisonous. But I didn’t want him to steal your last bite of apple! Anyway, they like to eat little frogs, mice, and lizards, and sometimes they steal eggs from birds.”
I trusted my father. If he said the snake was not poisonous, then I believed him. But I kept looking over into the tall grass where my father threw the snake. And once or twice, I thought I saw the snake’s little green eyes looking at me through the grass.
But somehow that little snake helped me. I was looking for the beautiful bird and looking out for that little snake, and this made the time pass quickly. I was not bored anymore.
But we still had to wait, and the daylight was coming to an end. The shadows became longer, and the light on the water didn’t dance as brightly.
Then it happened. My father put his hand on my shoulder and said softly, “Don’t make a sound!” Then he pointed to his right and said, “The beautiful bird is sitting on the branch of that tree hanging over the river. If we make a noise and scare him, he will fly away, and we will not see him again.”
Finally, I saw the bird. He looked so lovely against the gray leaves. He had a long beak and a short, thick tail. He was small, but he was wearing all the grand colors of the rainbow.
The beautiful bird had a bright blue line down his back. His head and wings were a lovely green, and he wore blue spots on the tips of the feathers. His beak was black, and his chin and neck were white. Behind his eyes, he had a red line, and his breast shone like copper. Even his feet were red. They looked brilliant against the dull color of the branches.
My father spoke again but very softly. “Now watch. He may give us a show.”
The little bird looked down into the quiet water under the tree. He was watching the fish swimming below. Suddenly he shot down into the water like a green flash of light. In a second, he was up in the tree again with something in his mouth. It was a small fish. The beautiful bird tapped the head of the fish against the branch. Then he swallowed the fish head first.
When I saw the bird eat the fish, I couldn’t help myself, and I said “Oh my!” The bird heard me and quickly flew away. My father and I laughed for joy. Still laughing and without a word, both my father and I stood up straight and started our journey home.
We had a lucky day. My father saved me from a snake, even though it was not poisonous. And we saw the most beautiful bird, the kingfisher. Kingfishers are the brightest birds you can see on the river. They look splendid among the green leaves and flying over the water. If you ever see one, you will surely be amazed at its beauty, and you will long to see one again.