Bethany Roberts'Christmas Fun For Kids: Stories and Legends


LEGEND OF THE BIRDS
A French legend
adapted by Bethany Roberts

Long, long ago, on that first Christmas Eve,  Raven was flying near Bethlehem.  Suddenly, a great host of angels was flying beside him.  

"Caw!" cried Raven in his harsh voice.  "What is happening?"

"We bring great news!" an angel told him.  "The Christ Child has been born today in a manger in Bethlehem.  Go and tell all the other birds!"

Raven called all the other birds and told them what the angel had said.  "We must go and see the Babe," said Raven.  As he spoke these words, Raven's raspy voice was suddenly as sweet as a songbird's.  

"Who?  Who?" said Owl.  "Who is this Savior?"  Owl refused to go, and to this day, he is still saying, "Who?  Who?"

But the other birds quickly flew to Bethlehem to see the new-born King.

Wren wove a soft blanket of feathers and moss for the baby.  Because of this, she is called la poulette de Dieu, God's little chicken.

Rooster crowed at daybreak to announce the Baby's birth.  But instead of his usual cock-a-doodle-doo, he sang, "Christus natus est!" which means "Christ is born!"

Nightingale, with her beautiful voice, sang a glorious lullaby to the Baby.

Little brown Robin wanted to give the Christ Child a gift, too.  He couldn't weave like Wren.  He couldn't crow like Rooster.  He couldn't sing like Nightingale.  But Robin could fan the flames of the fire, to keep the Baby warm.  He stayed so long, and so close to the flames, that he singed his breast feathers.  That is why, to this very day, Robin has a red breast.

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