as the doors to spring are flung wide open, the rain, the sun, the birds and animals come rushing through.
it's overwhelming. learning to listen, to see, to smell, to feel, to taste -
well it's like christmas and a birthday rolled into one!
the world returns to life once again.
"what shall we do for the boy who prevented the world from coming to an end?"
asked the good-natured corncrake.
"nothing," said the wagtail. do nothing at all for him."
"i'll sing for him," said the goldfinch.
"i'll teach him what the birds say," said the crow.
"yes, yes, yes," said all the birds in the king's garden.
the boy had not gone far when the crow flew after him and lighted on his shoulder. the crow spoke to him in the boy's own language. the boy was surprised. the crow flew to a standing stone
and went on speaking plain words to him.
"oh," said the boy, "i didn't know you could speak."
"why shouldn't i know how to speak," said the crow, "haven't i, for a hundred years and more,
been watching men and listening to their words?
"and you can speak well, ma'am," said the boy, not forgetting his manners.
"you know one language, but i know many languages," said the crow, "for i know what people say,
and i know what all the birds say."
the old crow sat there looking so wise and so friendly that the boy began to talk to her at his ease.
and after a while the boy said, "ma'am, do you think i could ever learn what the birds say?"
"you would, if you had me to teach you," said the crow.
"and will you teach me, ma'am?" said the boy.
"i will," said the crow.
then every day after that the crow would sit upon the standing stone and the boy would stand beside it. when the crow had eaten the boiled potato that the boy always brought she would tell him about the languages of the different birds. he learnt the language of this bird and that bird, and as he learnt their languages, many's and many's the good story he heard them tell each other.
illustration and text excerpted from "the boy who knew what the birds said" by padraic colum