<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> :::><> Õr¡g¡nš õf €x¡stëncë <><:::

The Plight of the Sparrow
Aruneshwar A. Singh

All rights held by the author.
No allowance is given for those wishing to gain financially by selling part of,
or the whole work of fiction in the following pages.

One day a Farmer went out to his garden to work. It was a large garden and there were many plants growing in his garden. The Farmer went through the narrow windy pathways admiring the numerous plants growing there. There were pretty flowers and tall trees. There were shrubs of many types and their leaves were colourful and bright. As the Farmer went from tree to tree, from plant to plant and flower to flower he took time to admire the trees and to smell the flowers. He would touch the leaves of the trees, feeling their texture as he ran his fingers upon the surface.

The Farmer loved his garden, and every afternoon when the sun was going down and the day had become cool he would go out as usual and look over his garden and admire the many plants and trees growing there. Sometimes the trees weren't doing well and he would have to place some fertiliser on them to help them along. Other times he would just take a hoe out and pack more soil around the base on the plants to give them more support. On other days he would cut off or pull off the dead leaves to make room for new buds to form on the stems and branches. He paid close attention to every single plant. But sometimes the plants did not do well despite all the Farmer did for it and there was nothing left but to pull the plant out of the ground and plant another one in it's place.

One particular afternoon while the Farmer was crossing a stream that ran through his garden he happened to come upon a sparrow lying on the ground amongst some dead and decaying leaves. Noticing that there were other sparrows around the Farmer wondered why they were not helping the fallen sparrow. As the farmer watched he saw that they were busy chasing insects and pulling worms out of the ground to eat. They were either unaware of their fellow sparrow or they too caught-up in what they were doing to show concern for their fallen comrade.

Though the farmer was not a sparrow or another member of the bird family the Farmer had compassion on the little sparrow. Looking at the ailing bird he knelt down and ever-so-carefully he picked up the feathered creature and walked back through the garden back to his home where he laid the little sparrow down on a soft teatowel and went to fill a little bowl with some water to quench the sparrows thirst.
When the Farmer returned he found that the little bird had become ravelled in the teatowel and had nearly suffocated itself. The Farmer slowly removed the teatowel so as not to scare it, picked up the bird and moved it's beak towards the bowl of water which he held in his other hand. The little bird was reluctant to drink at first but soon after a few little beak-fulls it quickly started to swallow too much and the Farmer had to restrain it so that the poor little creature did not choke itself.

After the bird had drunk to its hearts content it felt revived. so the Farmer laid it back on the soft teatowel and went to fetch some seeds for the bird to eat. He crushed the seeds with a mallet and soaked it them some honey.

When the little sparrow had eaten the Farmer sat down by the bird and he touched the birds head and the little sparrow was able to speak.

"What happened to you? Why were you lying on the ground?" asked the Farmer.

"I was eating with the others when a cat came along and chased me all around until I became so worn-out I went and hid myself in a small hole in a tree trunk where the cat could not get me," the little sparrow replied. "But the cat waited for me for awhile and then went away when it grew tired of it's little game. But by then I was so exhausted that when I crawled out of the hole I was only able to move slowly and when I finally reached where the others were I was unable to feed myself and so I just lay there thirsty and starving."

"Why didn't the other sparrows come to your aid and chase away the cat? Surely they should have realised that if they group together they could have chased away the cat," the Farmer said a frown forming on his face.

"Maybe they were afraid for themselves and did not want to get involved. Or maybe they had tried before and had failed. Or maybe they didn't care or were too busy to concern themselves with my plight," replied the little sparrow quietly and it started to cry, it's little beak shaking with each little whimper. The farmer stroked the little sparrows head until it relaxed again.

"As I lay there I wondered why they did not come to help me. But after awhile I didn't care and just gave up thinking about them. And then you came along. I thought if you would be the same. I wondered if you would see me and help or if you would carry on with your day and not concern yourself with me."

"When I saw you I knew I had to help you. It is part of me to help not only when someone needs or when they don't I just like to make myself available," the Farmer replied.

"I am sure glad you came when you did because if the cat had returned before you I wouldn't be alive."

"Well I am glad I happened upon you too. I can't have a pretty little creature like you dying in my garden, now can I," smiled the Farmer, a huge smile forming on his lips as the two of them broke out into laughter.

After the laughter had subsided the two of them talked some more and the Farmer gave the little sparrow a name. Nina.

When the little sparrow had fully recovered, the Farmer took it outside and watched it fly off his palm into the day. From that day on when the Farmer went to look at his garden every afternoon he would walk past the stream and when he got to the spot where he had first found Nina he would wait for the little sparrow to come and rest on his palm. They would talk and laugh together.