Stránka:tales 1921.djvu/109

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a long beak — at least an inch long — a fan-tail of many feathers, two long plumes from its head, "the littlest feet you ever have seen," and large lustrous eyes that seemed filled with human intelligence. "It jest looked right at you, and seemed like a fairy looking at you."

The wonder grew. I made a sketch embodying all the points that my companions noted about the Fairy Bird. The first drawing shows what it looked like, and also gives the exact size they said it was.

It seemed a cruel wrong that let so many of them see the thing that was of chief interest to me, yet left me out. It clearly promised a real fairy, an elfin bird, a wonderful messenger from the land I hungered to beheve in.

But at last my turn came. One afternoon two of the boys ran toward me, shouting: "Here it is, the little Fairy Bird, right in the garden over the honeysuckle. C'mon, quick!"

I rushed to the place, more excited than I can teU. Yes, there it was, hovering over the open flowers — tiny, wonderful, humming as it swung on misty wings. I made a quick sweep of my insect net and, marvellous to relate, scooped up the Fairy Bird. I was trembling with excitement now, not without a sense of wickedness that I should dare to net a fairy — practically an angel. But I had done it, and I gloated over my captive, in the meshes. Yes, the velvet body and snowy throat were there, the fan-tail, the plumes and the big dark eyes, but the creature was not a bird; it was an insect! Dimly now I remembered, and in a few hours, learned, as I had feared, that I had not captured a young angel or even a fairy — it was nothing but a Humming-bird Moth, a beautiful insect — common in some regions, scarce in some, such as mine — but perfectly well known to men of science and never afterward forgotten by any of that eager schoolboy group.