To the Rescue! A True Story

by Unknown

Chirp! chirp! chirp! Twit! twit! twit! Such a noise of chirping in the ivy at the back of the house! Just like a crowd of children after a school concert; but it was a much more serious affair than a concert.

We could not at first see anything to cause the disturbance, although we could not help knowing that it was a sparrow in some sort of peril or distress. At last one of us discovered that a poor little bird had entangled itself in some stout string which dangled from the ivy, and it was swinging at the end of this in a very dangerous manner. None of us could think what to do, because it was too high up for our only ladder to reach, and too far away to get at from any one of the windows.

While we were all standing looking at it we heard another chirp, as much as to say 'Hang on, dear, and I will soon set you free,' and then we saw another sparrow fly into the ivy and try and stretch itself far enough to peck at the string. But, alas! the brave little ball of brown feathers could not reach so far. The captive was perfectly quiet, and seemed to understand that some help was coming to him; and when the second sparrow found he could not reach it, he began to talk—shall we say?—to the other. They seemed to consult, as two doctors do over a patient, what was best to be done. All this time the captive sparrow was hanging by one foot with his head downwards, except when he fluttered about and tugged at the string. After they had talked for some seconds the helper flew away, and we were very disappointed: but he had not been gone long before he appeared again with another sparrow—a much bigger one!

The first sparrow seemed to do just what the last comer told him to. It was just as if he said, 'Now, my dear boy, you stand very firmly on my back, and I will fix myself on a twig of ivy as near as I can to our friend; mind you stretch as far as you possibly can, and if you cannot reach him then, you may stand on my head. Jerk the string with your beak and perhaps that will set him free.'

Number one sparrow did exactly as he was told, and nearly over-balanced himself; he only just saved himself by spreading his wings and starting to fly, and he could not reach the string. After another talk amongst the three of them (the poor prisoner only chirped very softly now), the two helpers flew away again in different directions, making as much noise as they could; and then in a very short time a whole crowd of them came. We counted fifteen of them; they talked and talked as they sat together in the ivy, until at last, as if at a given signal, they all flew out together. They fluttered, flew round and round, and pecked at the string and gave it jerks all at once, till it shook and trembled more and more.

They did this three times, each time returning to and starting from the ivy, in perfect order, as if they had been drilled to it. At last they were successful; they shook the prisoner free! Then they adjourned to the branches of a tree, near where we were standing, and the poor mite seemed to be telling them how he got into such a sad plight. It was a beautiful lesson in kindness to us all, as well as a wonderful example of the instinct which the Creator has given these little birds, so that not one of them 'shall fall to the ground.'