Why the Goldfinches look like the Sun
by Mabel Powers
It was some moons after the coon outwitted the fox, before they again
met. The coon was hurrying by, when the fox saw him.
Now the fox had not forgotten the trick the coon had played on him. His
head was still sore from that great thump against the apple tree. So the
fox started after the coon. He was gaining, and would have caught him,
had they not come to a tall pine tree.
The coon ran to the very tiptop of the pine tree. There he was safe, for
the fox could not climb.
The fox lay down on the soft pine needles and waited for the coon to
come down. The coon stayed up in the pine tree so long that the fox grew
tired and sleepy. He closed his eyes and thought he would take a short
The coon watched, until he saw that the fox was sound asleep. Then he
took in his mouth some of the pitch from the pine tree. He ran down the
tree and rubbed the pitch over the eyes of the sleeping fox.
The fox awoke. He sprang up and tried to seize the coon, but, alas! he
could not see what he was doing. The lids of his eyes were held fast
with the pine gum. He could not open them.
The coon laughed at the fox's plight, then ran and left him.
The fox lay for some time under the tree. The pine gum, as it dried,
held the lids of his eyes closer and closer shut. He thought he should
never again see the sun.
Some birds were singing near by. He called them, and told them of his
plight. He asked if they would be so kind as to pick open his eyes.
The birds flew off and told the other birds. Soon many of the little
dark songsters flew back to where the fox lay. Then peck, peck, peck,
went the little bills on the eyelids of the fox. Bit by bit they
carefully pecked away the pine gum. If one grew tired, another bird
would take its place.
At last the fox saw a streak of light. Soon the lid of one eye flew
open, then the other. The sun was shining, and the world looked very
beautiful to the fox, as he opened his eyes.
He was very grateful to the little birds for bringing him light. He told
them to ask what they would, and he would give it to them.
The little birds said, "We do not like the plain, dark suits which the
Turkey Buzzard brought us. Make us look like the sun we have brought to
The fox looked about him. Beautiful yellow flowers were growing near. He
pressed some of the sun color from them, and with the tip of his tail as
a brush, he began to paint the dark little birds like the sun.
The birds fluttered so with joy, he thought he would paint the bodies
first. Before he could brush the wings and tails with the sun paint,
each little bird had darted away, like a streak of sunshine. So happy
and light of heart were the birds, that they could not wait for the fox
to finish the painting.
This is why goldfinches are yellow like the sun. It is why they have
black wings and tails, why they flutter so with joy, and why they never
finish their song.