The cuckoo baby

A man wanted something more than anything else in the world. But he never made time for it. Instead, he went to work, loved his wife, fed his children and looked after his animals. He fixed his house and tended his garden. When the crops were ripe he harvested them. In spring he planted more. He was a good citizen, and helped the people of his town.

But the thing that he wanted more than anything else, he never gave time to. He lived with an aching heart, despite the love of his family, the food on his table and the good cheer of the townsfolk.

One day, he walked his hound into a wood, and heard a laugh overhead. A cuckoo danced in the branches. He saw a blackbird fly back to her nest, and sit nervously on her eggs.

He returned to the wood over the next days, and watched as the eggs hatched. The mother blackbird worked tirelessly to feed the chicks. One chick took more food than any other, and she worked harder and harder to keep it happy. The chick grew faster than the others, and ate more and more.

One day the man came to the tree and found little chicks on the floor around the trunk. They were not moving. There was only one left in the nest, the fat cuckoo baby. It called for the mother, who flew back again with more food, and no time to regard the bodies on the ground.

Soon the cuckoo had fledged and flown away, strong and healthy. The mother bird was tired.

And the man knew what he must do.