"I am going off on a Big Adventure!" Announced Baby White. "I am going in search of something useful!"
"Do be careful, Dear," Mrs White looked a little concerned, but at the same time quite looking forward to a restful five minutes without the bustling young cockerel wanting her to play and explore all the time.
"I won't be long Mother! Harry will keep an eye out," chirped Baby White as he trotted speedily and purposefully off, his body swaying from side to side as he gathered momentum.
We settled on our perches for a quiet nap, listening all the while for Harry the Peacock's alarm call - should there be any danger in the area. It was so quiet, just the drip, drip, drip of the increasingly heavy rain as it plopped off the side of the barn, a rhythmical sound like an old Grandfather clock, and one by one we nodded off.
Bird, meanwhile - who was still at Wattlebury Cottage - was trying his hardest to learn Jingle Bells. Dad had lowered his perches inside his cage so that his feathers on the top of his head didn't stick through the bars when he was in full tune. He really could do with a new cage - it was rather old and well used, but Mum had told him that if he learnt his new song, Dad would make him a new cage for Christmas.
All of a sudden the sweet repose was shattered by Baby White - his feathers wet and glistening - dashing into the barn with the prettiest bouquet in his mouth that you had ever seen.
"This is for you, Mother!" He dropped the beautiful twig, laden with the pink and orange adornments at Mrs White's feet.
"That is so lovely. Thank you Baby White!"
But Baby White looked sad. "It is very pretty, Mother. And it lit up the dark greens and browns of the woods, but it isn't useful," he hung his little head down.
"Sometimes the most beautiful things don't have to be useful - it makes me very happy and its bright colours light up the drear day for the woodland creatures. And anyway - I think it that you will find it is most useful!" Mrs White asked Harvest if she could go and fetch one of her reference books from her vast library behind the straw bale.
"Look dear, this man, Mr Turner named the tree 'Spindle Tree' - He says: 'I coulde never learne an Englishe name for it. The Duche men call it in Netherlande, spilboome, that is, spindel-tree, because they use to make spindels of it in that country, and me thynke it may be as well named in English seying we have no other name. . . . I know no goode propertie that this tree hath, saving only it is good to make spindels and brid of cages (bird-cages).'
- So you see, Baby White. Dad will be able to make Bird his new cage from the Spindle Wood - and Bird will have the most beautiful cage in Wattlebury!"
[Note: Dad doesn't know this yet!]