The mother sparrow looked at her littlest one a little dubiously. All the others in her brood had learnt to fly and had gone away to fend for themselves. Only this little fellow remained. And when she looked at his remarkable round big eyes, which were so limpid and innocent, she could not believe that he would ever learn to take care of himself.
She sighed: she would do her best by him, and for the rest, the little fellow would have to do the best he could.
“Come, my child!” she addressed him gently. “It is time you learnt to fly!”
“Yes, mama!” he answered, rolling his eyeballs, and followed her meekly.
He learnt fast and every day he could fly a little farther till soon he had gone all around the village, by himself.
Mama sparrow was pleased for him. Yes, he had learnt to fly. But would he learn the ways of the world as easily? She had her doubts. So she decided to give him a few tips that might help him survive.
“Now you must learn to look after yourself. But let me give you some advice that might help you,” said she. “If you’re in a field and you see a man or a boy coming towards you with a bow and a sling of arrows or with a catapult, fly away! They’re sure to take a shot at you!”
“All right, mama!” the little one nodded his head.
“And if anyone standing close by bends to the ground suddenly, fly away fast! He is probably picking up a stone to throw at you!”
“Yes, mama,” said the young one. “You need not fear anyone who is not bending down or is not carrying anything in his hand,” ended mama. “But what if someone is carrying a stone in his pocket?” asked the little fellow.
There was a moment’s silence. “You know more than I do. You’ll survive! Now, off with you!” said mama.