Maurice the Meddlesome Magpie
It is the nature of a magpie to be noisy, but Maurice also had a bad habit of sticking his nose into everyone’s business and passing judgment on everything from a joyful junco’s nest construction to a turtle’s slow advance across a country road. Freely offering advice where none was solicited, Maurice was making himself more and more unpopular.
“You should move faster,” he told Timmy the Tenacious Turtle. “If you don’t get across that road soon, a big farm tractor will come along and smash you flatter than a pancake.”
Timmy just nodded and took another sluggish step, and another.
“Hurry, hurry,” said Maurice with an annoying screech. “You’re going to die.”
Timmy nodded again and took another step forward.
“I can’t watch,” Maurice said as he flew away. Moments later he sat on a branch overhanging a bird feeder and tried to organize the comings and goings of the house finches and goldfinches. “If you’d line up and take turns,” he said, “you’d all get your share. The way you’re fluttering and flitting about, you’re all going to go hungry.”
The finches hopped and fluttered and flitted and completely ignored Maurice’s advice.
Finally he soared to the top of the big fence under the tree and screeched at the black and white cat crouched in the corner of the yard. “Get out, get out,” he called out to the finches. “Cat, cat, cat.”
“Mind your own business, Bird,” the cat said.
“Cat, cat, cat,” Maurice repeated.
And before Maurice could fly away, the cat sprang to the top of the fence, grabbed him by the beak, and threw him to the ground. As Maurice wobbled into the sky to escape, he looked down his beak and realized it sat slightly askew. He was immensely relieved a few minutes later to find himself able to hold on to a bug and grab a peanut from the big bird feeder.
Sadly, the finches and Timmy the Turtle laughed when they saw him. “Let me offer you a bit of advice,” said Timmy, who had now made it safely to the other side of the road. “In the future, mind your own beak.”
And that’s what can happen when a magpie pays too much attention to other creatures’ business and not enough time tending to his own affairs.
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