Carl (for that was Little Boy's name) was a regular little kid. He was not always perfect and more often than not came back home with a rip in his pants, didn't like washing behind his ears and he'd rather eat cookies than broccoli, but that's how little boys are built. He also seemed to be a veritable magnet for mischief; whether he planned it or not, accidents were sure to happen to him. So when the new neighbor was moving the day before Mom told him to please wait inside and not get into trouble. Carl soon contented himself with watching through the parlor window the coming and going of the moving people. If he had further encouragement into staying in by the sight of the big black dog sitting still as if made of stone, he did not confess. Daddy was big and strong and surely would not be afraid of big black dogs that could eat a little boy in one bite, and Carl was determined to be as much like his Daddy as possible.
Convinced that the dog would not leave his post Carl gave up his plans of going to the neighbor and introducing himself so that he could look at all the mysterious boxes and things, and perhaps find some adventure. Instead, he took his glass to the meadow near his house. He always found the most intriguing things there (he had been trying to imitate his Daddy's big words, too) but Momma didn't understand how wonderful earthworms were, and the worms and jewel like bugs he had so carefully stored in boxes beneath his bed had somehow disappeared. Carl suspected Momma knew more than she admitted. Perhaps she had seen the monster under the bed take his precious bugs and didn't want to frighten him! Uncle Mark said there was no such thing as the monster, and Carl wanted to believe him, but he also said there was no God, and that was not nice and the little boy concluded that Uncle was either correct on both matters or wrong on both. So Carl continued to fear the monster under his bed, and to kneel next to it at night –with Momma always by his side- to pray.
And on that night, while reciting his little prayers he remembered the mother sparrow that had looked so hungry, and the pitiful little sounds from the nest he followed her to, and asked God to help her. God always answered his prayers, even if His answers were a little… unexpected sometimes. Carl was sure God would send someone to the wee creature.
When morning came and Momma went into his room to wake him up, she found Carl sitting up in his bed, sighing. She asked him what was wrong to make him sigh so.
- Oh Mum, God must be very busy because he asked me to help the birdie.
His mother just smiled a little, knowing that he spoke fully in earnest. She sat down next to him and brought him close to her.
- Well, let's see what we can do. Do you know what birdie needs? – Carl's face lit up instantly at his mother's words. Momma was so wonderful! You did not have to do a lot of explaining to her, then again she seemed to know when he was hiding something from her too, and that was not so great.
- The birdie was kinda hopping about, like she was looking for something, and I didn't know what it was but then I saw that she had three babies in her nest and I think that she was sad because they had no food, and oh Mum I dreamt that I gave her food in a little box… Do we have a little box somewhere that I can take to her? What do birdies like to eat? – Momma smiled a little more at the rush of words from her boy
- Well, they do like earthworms or insects – Carl gasped in horror- But I think they can eat seeds too –Momma hurried to add when she saw that he was about to cry. This boy of hers could not hurt his dear bug creatures.
So he dressed after his morning prayers and since Momma could see there was no way Carl would be able to sit still through breakfast if he did not do something for the little sparrow, together they looked up an appropriate box and filled it with all kinds of seeds: they cracked big sunflower seeds and added flax seeds and some dry crumbs of bread, put it all in the old pill box with the missing lid and snuck out to place it next to the nest. Carl was delighted that the bird was not awake yet.
After he had seen the seeds were welcome, he reluctantly returned home. The big dog had left the front yard and Carl found it more frightening, not knowing where he could be. The dog was really too big, and the brown spots over its eyes made him look cross. Carl looked one way and then the other, and made a mad dash for his house, arriving breathless but in one piece to the kitchen.
To be continued...