Nolan was a tough child from Olivebridge in the Hudson Valley. He would wander through the forests and groves, barefoot, killing birds with his catapult. One day, there was a lovely little bird with green feathers and a black ring on its head. It flitted from branch to branch in the grove while Nolan chased after it. But it did not stop long enough in any one spot for him to get his sights on it. Then he saw it pop into a deep hole in an ancient tree, and emerge again a few moments later. Nolan looked through a crack in the bark and saw four fledglings twittering away. He tried to get his hand in to pull them out, but the crack was too narrow. The mother flew around his head uttering tweets of agitation. He found a stick and poked it through the crack, killing all the birds in the nest. Then he hid in the long grass and waited to see what the mother would do. She made a dash for the nest at once and disappeared inside the tree. Nolan waited for her to come out again. He waited there for a long time, but when nothing happened he crept slowly up to the tree and peered through the crack. The mother was lying over her dead fledglings, her wings outspread as though to protect them. Nolan got a stick and prodded her. Nothing. It was only then that he understood that the mother bird was dead. From that time on he loathed the groves. Targets for his catapult were now just the oranges, apples and pears on the shelves at Annie’s Natural Food Store.
Nolan’s a good boy now.