Jake had been caught by the chucking up bug. It had been going round school for a few days and then one break time it got him… Urggggh!
The nice part was that he spent the next few days at home. Mum told him to stay in his bedroom and keep his plastic bucket near him at all times.
He was allowed to play a cops and robbers game on his tablet for a while. Eventually Mum came up to his room with some camomile tea and told him to read a book. After he had turned some pages about space and the planets, he decided to sit at the table and draw a rocket, which he did until he got bored and started to make paper aeroplanes.
He passed the first couple of days more or less like this, with only the occasional pause to chuck up or to snooze. On the third day, he was starting to get a little bored. It was Thursday, and he was missing football club, which was a pity.
It was autumn. The weather was pleasant, and his window was open to let in fresh air. His room was at the back of the house and overlooked the garden. It was quite small, and the lawn was not big enough to play football without endangering Dad’s roses. But the garden was pretty and was overlooked by a big oak tree from the neighbour’s side of the wall.
Jake was sitting by the window watching some squirrels search for acorns, when a bird came to join him. It was a large black crow. It sat outside the window sill and looked at him with its head on one side.
“Hello,” said Jake.
The bird nodded.
“Don’t come too near, because I’ve got a bug,” said Jake. “Well I think it must be ok by now, but just in case.”
The crow took a few hops away from Jake, as far as he could go while remaining on the sill.
“This is my garden,” said Jake, “but you’re welcome to come here any time you want. We’ve got some fat worms, which I expect you would like to eat, but watch out for the cats. Several of our neighbours have them and they come in uninvited and lurk in the bushes hoping to catch birds.”
The crow let out a cawwww.
“My dad spends Sunday afternoon doing stuff in the garden, like mowing the lawn, or pulling up weeds, and spraying his roses. It’s a good time to come because he often disturbs the worms, and you might get some juicy ones. He likes birds. I do too, except for pigeons. Nobody likes pigeons, unless they’re doves, but they aren’t doves very often, as far as I can tell.”
The crow cawed again, but this time it sounded like a word. Jake thought he said, “correct.”
“This is a true story,” Jake went on. “When I was little, I had a soft toy that looked like a robin. I left it on the lawn and Sylvia, that’s the next door cat, caught it. She crept over the grass on her tummy real sneaky and then she jumped and dug her claws into it.”
“Haw haw,” said the crow. “That’s funny.”
“Yes, but I cried because I was little,” said Jake. “Only I think it’s funny now when I remember it.”
“We all change as we get older,” said the crow.
“Is that right?’ said Jake. “How do you think I will be when I’m older?”
“Well for starters you’ll get bigger,” said the crow.”
“That’s obvious,” said Jake.
“And I reckon you’ll do something exciting, like being a secret agent,” said the crow.
“Great, cos that’s what I want to be when I grow up,” replied Jake. “By the way,” he added, “how come you can talk?”
“Well,” said the crow, “I can talk because I am very old and I’ve learned lots of things. 500 years ago, I used to sit on the window sill of the school and listen to all the lessons. They used to teach good and proper history back in those days. I learned all sorts of interesting stuff. That’s how I became so clever.”
“Wow, that’s brilliant,” said Jake.
“Oh, I could tell you such stories…” said the crow, but before he could finish his sentence, Jake’s mum came into the room with some Greek yoghurt and honey and some slices of banana.
“Hey Mum,” said Jake, “say hello to this bird. He’s got a surprise for you.”
“Hello Birdy,” said Mum.
But all the crow said was,
And that was ‘Birdy and the Boy’, written by Bertie.