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Little Bud
by [?]

“The naughty cuckoo has been here while we were gone, and left this great blue egg among our little white ones,” said the linnet to her mate as they came back from their breakfast one day and found the nest full.

“It is not a cuckoo’s egg, my dear,” answered the father bird, shaking his head, “some fairy must have put it here, and we must take care of it or they may be angry and do harm to our little ones by and by. Sit carefully on it, and see what will follow.”

So Mamma Linnet sat patiently on the five eggs for many days more, and then out came her four small children and began to chirp for food. But the big blue egg still lay there, and no sound of a little bill pecking inside was heard.

“Shall we throw it out of the nest and make room for our babies?” asked the mother, finding her nursery very crowded.

“Not yet,” said the careful papa, standing on one leg to rest, being very tired of bringing worms for his family. “Wait two more days, and then if the egg does not break, we will push it out.”

He was a wise bird, and they were always glad that they waited; for on the seventh day the blue egg suddenly flew open, and there lay the smallest, prettiest little girl ever seen,–three inches long, but rosy, gay, and lively as she popped up her curly head and looked about her as if much surprised to find herself in a nest swinging on the branch of a tree.

“Who are you?” asked the father linnet, while all the young ones stared at her with their big eyes, and opened their beaks as if to eat her up.

“I’m little Bud,” answered the tiny creature, smiling at them so sweetly it was impossible to help loving her at once.

“Where do you come from?” said the mother.

“I don’t know.”

“Are you a fairy?”

“No; for I have no wand.”

“A new kind of bird?”

“I have no feathers or wings.”

“A human child?”

“I think not; for I have no parents.”

“Bless the dear! what can she be? and what shall we do with her?” cried both the birds, much amazed at this new child of theirs.

Bud did not seem to be troubled at all, but lay rocking in her blue cradle and laughing at the young linnets who peeped curiously over the edge of it.

“She must have something to eat,” said the papa, flying off.

“And some clothes,” added the mamma, bustling about.

But when a nice, fat worm was brought, Bud covered her face and cried with a shiver,–

“No, no! I cannot eat that ugly thing.”

“Get a strawberry,” said the mamma; and she tried to wrap the largest, softest feather that lined her nest round the naked little maid.

But Bud kicked her small legs out of it at once, and stood up, saying with a laugh,–

“I’m not a bird; I cannot wear feathers. Give me a pretty green leaf for a gown, and let me look about this big world where I find myself all at once.”

So the linnet pulled a leaf and pecked two holes for Bud’s arms, and put it on like a pinafore; for she never had dressed a baby and did not know how, her own children being born with down coats which soon changed to gray feathers. Bud looked very pretty in her green dress as she sat on the edge of the nest staring about with her blue eyes and clapping her hands when the papa came flying home with a sweet wild berry in his bill for her breakfast. She ate it like an apple, and drank a drop of dew that had fallen in the night; then she began to sing so sweetly that all the neighbors came to see what sort of bird Dame Linnet had hatched.