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How to Live Happily Ever After: A Collection of Fairy Tales

The Yellow-Headed Blackbird

If you enjoy reading this story, please consider purchasing A Collection of Fairytales, which contains sixteen more original stories!

Once upon a time there was a very large, very lazy, and very black raven who was not satisfied with who he was. The raven was tired of searching for food left by others, tired of not being able to land on stalks of wheat and indulging himself on the tasty grains. The raven just weighed too much for the stalks to hold him up. The raven was even more tired of the farmers shooting at him if he came too close to their fields.

The raven decided to search the woods until he found a wizard willing to grant him a wish. After seven years of flying everywhere the wizard was found only one mile from where the raven had begun his search.

“Be ever so kind my good wizard,” the raven pleaded, “to shrink me to half my size so I may sneak into the farmers field and eat of his yellow grains and yellow mustard seeds.”

“I will grant you your wish if you are brave enough to go to the pond at the foot of yonder mountain and dive into the midst of the water. The pond is magical and will shrink you, but I warn you: Do not be greedy for it will bid you ill.”

The raven was already flying off before the wizard had finished his warning.

Upon arriving at the pond, the raven wasted no time and dived into the midst of the water. There the raven splashed and splashed for he believed the longer he stayed in the magical water the better it would be for him.

When the raven did fly off, he was so much smaller that he grinned from ear to ear, knowing he could now sneak into the farmer’s garden and fields with ease.

The little raven had only landed for a few seconds, when out of the tall stalks of grain sprang the largest cat he had ever seen. He almost didn’t get away! The little raven had become a very small blackbird, and with his small size and shiny black feathers could easily be seen and caught by cats, dogs and hawks.

So off flew the blackbird to again visit the wizard.

“Be ever so kind, my good wizard,” the blackbird pleaded, “to give me a disguise that I may hide from my enemies. As you can see, I am small and defenseless.”

“I will grant you your wish if you are brave enough to go to the farmer’s wheat field at the foot of yonder mountain and fly down to the bottom of the mustard plant growing in the midst of the field. For, if you eat one of its magical seeds, your color will blend into the color of wheat, but I warn you: Do not be greedy for it will bid you ill.”

The blackbird was already flying off before the wizard had finished his warning.

Upon arriving at the farmer’s wheat field, and seeing the mustard plant growing right where the wizard had said it would, the blackbird flew down to the bottom of it without regard to cats or dogs who might be sneaking around.

Once there, the blackbird did not stop at one seed, but gobbled down a dozen of them at a time, then waited for his shiny black feathers to fade into the color of wheat.

What a surprise it was to the blackbird to have only his head turn a bright yellow. At least he could peek his head up out of the wheat fields to see if any cats or dogs were coming.

The yellow-headed blackbird flew to the neighboring wheat field and the first time he peeked his head up a farmer shouted at him and chased him away.

The yellow-headed blackbird decided he needed a sweet song to warn others of danger and to allow the farmers to enjoy his presence, so they would not chase him off.

So off flew the yellow-headed blackbird to once again visit the wizard.

“Be ever so kind my good wizard,” the yellow-headed blackbird pleaded, “to give me a song so sweet that the farmers will want me around and so sweet no one but my kin will know it to be a warning of approaching danger.”

“I will grant you your wish if you are brave enough to fly to the cave at the foot of yonder mountain and land in the shadow of the cave. For there you will find small magical pebbles, and if you eat one of them your voice will be as sweet as honey and as long as a day, but I warn you: Do not be greedy for it will bid you ill.” The yellow-headed blackbird was already flying off before the wizard had finished his warning.

Upon arriving at the cave and landing in its shadow, the yellow-headed blackbird noticed that not only were there small pebbles, but medium and large ones as well.

Spotting the very largest one, he decided it would make his voice and song even sweeter. He swallowed the largest stone in such a hurry that it stuck fast in his throat. Try as he might, he could not get it to go up or down.

After a little thought, the yellow-headed blackbird found a long stick and used it to shove the pebble down his throat. The pebble and stick scratched his throat so much he could now only make the strangest sounds, none of which were very sweet.

To this day you can see yellow-headed blackbirds and know how greedy they are by their voice and song.

The wizard knew that it takes more than courage to get what you wish; common sense and courage must go hand-in-hand.

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