Once upon a time, a young robin lived in the branches of a giant oak tree. During the day she would fly to far-off places, singing cheerfully and foraging for food. When dusk crept into the crevices of the sky, Robin dutifully returned to her branch. There were a few other birds on the oak tree but they were much older and kept to themselves.
So she lived on her own, and her days passed, and for the most part,she suppressed the tiny part of her feathered chest that said it would be good to have someone to come home to. Such voices were not to be listened to, she said sternly. Hadn’t the Blue Jay promised to set up home close to her? Then he’d realized with a lament that he could never live in one place.
She lived peacefully until one day she woke up to a delightful sound. It was a Willow warbler sitting on the next branch that greeted her with a “Hello”. He was quite a pleasant fellow and soon they’d become friends with each other. He was a traveller, gone sometimes for days at a time, but he always returned. And surprising herself, our young Robin began to look out for him, staying up a little longer on her branch so she could see him return with his cheerful chirp. Days turned into months, summer faded into winter.
One day with the first chilly wind, the Warbler came to her. He said he would have to leave for the South and he would be gone for quite some time. Robin was sad, but happy too that he had come,one last time. All night long, they sat on the branch and sang songs, of unspoken love. Then the sun rose, and with it, the Warbler spread its wings and flew away.
Robin spent the winter months tucked in her cosy nest, building up any jagged edges with care. “He will come in spring”, he’d said, “and maybe he’d want to live here”, she thought. Maybe we can make a bigger nest, on that curved branch. Just enough for two, she thought, and the thought carried her through the icy gales. Soon enough, the first of the flowers bloomed and so did Robin’s heart for she knew he’d come soon. He’d never broken his word.
One morning, she heard a familiar chirrup and she hopped out of her nest, in sheer ecstasy. He was back, as beautiful and glossy-crested as he’d been. But there was something, he was happy to see her, but not the way she was. She ignored it, showing him the larger nest she’d built. He looked around, then quietly, he said he was moving- “There is a tree in the next forest,all her friends and family live there.” “Her?”, she asked. “I met Willow down South” he said, “We’re setting up nest. Will you come visit me sometimes?”
Robin smiled, and Warbler went off busily, he had a home to make.
He visited her sometimes in the months that followed and looked disapprovingly at the ruckus around her nest. There was a singing thrush, a roguish fellow,who’d be staying a few weeks. “Wasn’t it someone else the last month?” “Oh yes, the brown Magpie. He left some days ago. He had to go meet his friends. This one won’t be around for much longer either.”
“You shouldn’t let just anyone into your nest. ” He said scornfully and flew away.
Sitting on her branch, the Robin sang a forgotten song.