THE COCKALORUM BIRD
before her and told her to darn a hole in one of Benny's stockings. Sarah was a good darner and she set to work to darn the hole neatly —and then, just as she had finished it, in flew the Cockalorum Bird again, put its sharp beak down to the stocking and tore out all Sarah's careful darning!
" Oh, you unkind thing! " cried the little girl, in tears.
" I saw you do it to the spider's web! " said the Cockalorum Bird in his squawking voice. " If it's a nice thing to do to a small spider, it's a nice thing to do to a small girl! " He opened his beak to give a loud screech, but Sarah put her hand on his open beak and closed it.
" Please, please! " she said. "I shall get into such trouble if you screech again."
Just then her mother came in and the brilliantly coloured bird disappeared in a trice. Sarah's mother was cross when she saw that there was still a big hole in the stocking. " You naughty girl! You haven't done a scrap of darning! " she said. " I shall not let you go out to tea to-morrow now."
That night in bed the two children talked in low voices about the strange Cockalorum Bird.
" I've noticed that he always seems to come and screech when we do anything unkind," said Sarah. " Perhaps we had better stop doing those things, Benny."
" It would be easier to get rid of that horrid bird! " said Benny. " I shall do what I said, Sarah, and throw it down the well to-night! "
Just then the Cockalorum Bird flew in at the door, and sat on the bed rail, its long black tail twitching from side to side. " I'm just going to sneeze," it said, " and then I believe I've got a screech coming! "