SUCH A GORGEOUS COAT!
“O Father!” he panted, “I am late. But I was so busy! Pray forgive me and permit me to have a pretty coat like the others.”
“You are late indeed,” said the Father reproachfully, “and all the coloring has been done. You should have come when I bade you. Do you not know that it is the prompt bird who fares best? My rainbow color-box has been generously used, and I have but little of each tint left. Yet I will paint you with the colors that I have, and if the result be ill you have only yourself to blame.”
“The Father smiled gently as He took up the brush which He had laid down, and dipped it in the first color which came to hand. This He used until there was no more, when He began with another shade, and so continued until the Goldfinch was completely colored from head to foot. Such a gorgeous coat! His forehead and throat were of the most brilliant crimson. His cap and sailor collar were black. His back was brown and yellow, his breast white, his wings golden set off with velvet black, and his tail was black with white-tipped feathers. Certainly there was no danger of his being mistaken for any other bird.
When the Goldfinch looked down into a pool and saw the reflection of his gorgeous coat, he burst out into a song of joy. “I like it, oh I like it!” he warbled, and his song was very sweet. “Oh, I am glad that I was late, indeed I am, dear Father!”
But the kind Father sighed and shook His head as He put away the brush, exclaiming, “Poor little Goldfinch! You are indeed a beautiful bird. But I fear that the gorgeous coat which you wear, and which is the best that I could give you, because you came so late, will cause you more sorrow than joy. Because of it you will be chased and captured and kept in captivity; and your life will be spent in mourning for the days when you were a plain gray bird.”
The Curious Book of Birds.
Written by Abbie Farwell Brown.
Illustrations by E. Boyd Smith.
Houghton, Mifflin & Company: Boston & New York. 1903.