By Teresa Nuckols
Illustration By Rosemary Nuckols
Cautiously, Yellow Bird alighted on a low branch of a flowering apple tree. The early morning air seemed to quiver with anticipation. It had been just yesterday that Yellow Bird had heard Messenger Pigeon making the announcement:
“Attention birds of the forest! The Great King will be passing through these very woods at dawn tomorrow morning. The King wishes to hear the song of each bird in His Kingdom. Every bird in the forest is to have his song rehearsed and ready to sing for the King when He passes by!”
Now the sky was beginning to show signs of the coming dawn, as all of the woodland birds of various shades and sizes began practicing their songs for the King. Yellow Bird cocked her head to one side and listened. More than anything, she wanted to please the King.
“What song would He like best?” she thought amidst the chorus of birdsong around her. “Certainly not the boring little tune that I can sing!”
Just then a liquid melody rang out clear and true from the throat of Oriole perched in the branch above Yellow Bird.
“That will thrill the heart of the King, I’m sure!” Yet, try as she might, Yellow Bird could not match the articulation with which Oriole sang.
A little discouraged, but still determined to serenade her King, Yellow Bird listened to
One after the other, Yellow Bird tried to copy the birds all around her, but to her little
ears, she failed utterly to sing in tune the melodious songs around her. In the distance the sun
“He’s coming! He’s coming!” chirped Sparrow ecstatically. The woods became quiet as all the birds waited in expectation for their turn to serenade the King.
“Oh no,” whimpered Yellow Bird, as a tear rolled down her little beak. “The King will be disappointed in me. I have no beautiful song to sing for Him!”
The King slowly made His way down the forest path. He stopped and listened as each bird sang freely their own unique melody. The King praised and encouraged each one individually.
Yellow Bird could hear His gentle, yet powerful voice as He approached. She tried to hide behind the apple blossoms as her heart grew heavy with the realization that the King was drawing near. Yet when the King stopped in front of the tall poplar tree next to where Yellow Bird hid, she couldn’t help getting a closer glimpse of the King.
Yellow Bird was awed at the King’s majesty. Light seemed to surround His very presence. Peace and joy illuminated His face. Everything about Him spoke of righteousness and holiness. Then, as the King turned to listen to Yellow Bird’s song, His warm eyes met Yellow Bird’s timid gaze.
Something stirred within Yellow Bird’s little heart. All of the striving, discouragement and discontent melted away as she beheld the look of unconditional love and acceptance in her King’s eyes.
From a heart full of unspeakable gratitude and love, Yellow Bird poured forth her simple song for her King. It was the only song that she knew how to sing. Yellow Bird’s voice rose on the wings of the gentle breeze that rustled through the poplar leaves close by.
When her last note died away, the King looked at Yellow Bird so kindly, but to her astonishment, she noticed a tear glistening in His eye.
“Could He be disappointed?” she wondered in the stillness of the wooded grove.
Then the King began to speak in His resonant voice, “Yellow Bird, the way you sang your song was lovely! Did you know I composed and arranged that song for you? No one else can sing it as you did. I am well pleased!”
A look of sadness returned to His eyes as He continued, “My little bird, I watched and listened as you tried to sing like all the other birds, getting so frustrated and displeased with yourself when you found that you could not sing their songs like they could. Remember that it pleases Me most when you sing the simple song that you were meant to sing. So keep singing, Yellow Bird, for I am always listening with the greatest pleasure as I watch over My kingdom.”
As the King finished speaking, His face lit up with a radiant smile. Then He urged His mount on and continued through the forest glade.Yellow Bird’s eyes misted for a moment with mingled sorrow and joy. Sorrow to think that she had saddened the King, and joy because He had always loved her just as she was!
Then Yellow Bird flew above the treetops, singing the song that flowed from her very being. She pondered in her heart what the King had said and resolved never to try to sing another
bird’s song. When she would become discouraged with her humble song, she’d simply remember the loving look of her King. His smile was reward enough.
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