It was a warm Sunday. The month was January.
Hannah found a bird lying in their backyard. The little sparrow had broken her wing.
As Hannah approached, the bird struggled hard to get away from whatever harm could come from the 5-year-old.
Hannah gently picked up the bird, and went to her mother.
“Look, Mommy, this bird wants to fly,” said Hannah.
“Why cannot it fly?” asked the mother.
“There is something wrong with its wing.”
Hannah looked sad. So, her mother cheered her up, with the right advice.
“Why do not we take care of this sparrow until it is able to fly again?” she asked Hannah.
“Can we do that?” Hannah said.
The mother helped Hannah get a show box, and put the bird in it.
By now, the bird had realised Hannah didn’t mean to harm it.
It rested comfortably inside the box, as Hannah brought it food and water.
“Now, you will have to feed your new friend every day and take care of it,” the mother told Hannah.
Hannah put the bird in the shoe box inside her room. She ensured the bird was fed properly.
Every meal Hannah brought the bird made them more familiar to each other. Hannah was the saviour. The bird was her friend.
Hannah named the sparrow, Grey, for the colour of its feathers.
Many days passed.
As a routine, Hannah walked into her room with a platter full of breadcrumbs to feed Grey.
But Grey was not in the box.
Hannah got worried. But before she could rush to her mother, Grey chirped from behind the curtain.
“You can fly!” shouted Hannah, and rushed to inform her mother, who was happy to know her daughter’s care helped the bird heal.
“You did a wonderful job, Hannah. Looks like it is time for Grey to go back to its family.”
Hannah turned upset, but she didn’t resent.
She and her mother took the bird outside, right where Hannah had found it, and set it free.
Hannah held Grey in her hands, gave it a peck on its head, and let it go.
They watched the bird fly away.
Hannah returned to her room to remove the shoe box and everything that Grey didn’t need anymore.
She heard a chirp from the outside.
She thought it was some random bird, but as chirping persisted, she went out to see.
It was Grey.
The bird had come back.
That day since, Grey was a constant presence in Hannah’s backyard.