THE COCKALORUM BIRD
" Do you know, Sarah, it's more interesting to be kind than it is to tease things," said Benny, suddenly.
" It gives you such a nice feeling, too," said Sarah. " We have been rather horrid, often, you know, Benny."
" The old Cockalorum Bird is feeling as dull as can be! " whispered Benny. " Let's pull his long tail and make him jump! "
" Oh, Benny, no! Let's go on being kind for as long as we can," said Sarah. " Besides, he would screech."
So they left the bird alone, and he didn't even try to get into bed with them at night.
Benny forgot the next day and threw a stone at a thrush—and how pleased the Cockalorum Bird was! How it screeched! How it tweaked his
ear! And the day after Sarah forgot and trod on a worm. The Cockalorum went nearly mad with joy and whistled till Sarah's mother came out and smacked her hard!
But the children changed after that. They remembered to be kind and gentle, and they found that they liked it because then all the birds and animals trusted them
and came round to make friends. It was so much nicer to have friends than enemies. The Cockalorum Bird grew mopey and one day he spread his striped wings and flew off, over the garden-hedge.
" He's gone," said Benny.
" I wonder where to? " said Sarah. " Well, Benny, I'm not sorry we found his egg. We are much happier now. I don't think we shall ever like to be unkind again and go about teasing things. Do you? "
" Never! " said Benny, And he meant it.
They didn't see the Cockalorum Bird again. People say it goes about looking for horrid children to live with, but I don't know if that's true. Anyway, if ever you see a nest made of pine-cones, don't touch the egg inside, whatever you do. It might grow into a Cockalorum Bird and live with you!