fredag den 1. januar 2010

Ebbe’s Disappearing

 As a child my granddad taught me how to interpret the old weather warnings based on observing wild life. If you want to know what the weather of the season is going to be like, watching the birds’ behavior will be a good indicator. In Denmark, it heralds a long and hard winter, if the Yellowhammer gathers around farms and houses. This winter a Yellowhammer has been visiting every day right outside my kitchen window. I think the first time I noticed it was in the end of November, so the hard winter hasn't come as a surprise to me at all.

As usually I had prepared breakfast, and while I was waiting for the toasts to get ready, I had time to take a look outside the kitchen window to watch the birds. I was met by a delightful sight of icicles covering the old hawthorn growing on an arc at my garden gate. The icicles were sparkling in the early morning sun, and formed a magic entrance to our garden; it looked almost like the entrance of King Winter’s palace. A Yellowhammer was waiting impatiently for Ebbe to come out to feed the birds with the left over bread crumbs from our toasts. When we had finished our toasts Ebbe went outside with the crumbs, but this morning he stayed outside much longer than usually. I called for him, but he was out of sight. It’s not the first time Ebbe has been flying of on his own, so I decided to go inside to get a cup of coffee and wait for him.
After an hour Selene and I started to worry about Ebbe’s disappearing. It was freezing cold outside. The sun had disappeared and the Northern Wind swept over the roof, and made the snow drift. I put on my coat and boots to go outside to search for Ebbe. Selene didn’t want to come. “I am not going to get frozen wings, just because that daft lad has to disappear” She said while she was hanging above the door with crossed arms. I knew Ebbe had been attracted to some empty bird nests in the trees behind our house, so I went to the back side of the house to see if I could spot him. I couldn’t see him, so I called for him. The Yellowhammer came around the corner and landed on a bush right in front of me. It started to behave very strangely; it stepped from side to side on the branch, flapping its left wing. I knew it was trying to tell me something. It sounded as if it was singing “hurry, hurry” as it set of towards the field behind our house.

I followed the bird across the field. We crossed the main road, and went into another larger field on the other side of the road. The Yellowhammer was far ahead of me. I was struggling through the deep snow; the strength of the wind had increased more and more. I had forgotten to put on some gloves, so my fingers had started to hurt from the cold. “How much further do we have to go?” I shouted to the Yellowhammer, but it was to far away to hear me. It had started to snow, and I could hardly see the road when I looked back. It looked like the Yellowhammer was heading towards an old tree at the end of the Field. At this point, I had seriously started to worry about Ebbe, he isn’t fitted to live in the cold, and I knew he hadn’t been wearing the tiny wool jumper I had made for him. When I reached the tree the Yellowhammer was out of sight, I called for Ebbe, but there was no reply. I went around the tree, and there I spotted a poorly made ladder. It was banging against the trunk of the tree. I looked up to find out where the ladder was leading to. I could discern a small tree house. A light was coming from a small window, and I could see a small green door. I tried to call for Ebbe but the wind was howling, and I didn’t get a reply, so I carefully examined the ladder to see if it was safe for me to climb it. It looked a bit unsafe, but now I had become curious to find out if there was someone in the small tree house.

My feet slipped a few times on the ladder, but I managed to pull myself into safety on a big branch in front of the tree house. I knocked on the small green door. I could hear something being dragged or pushed inside the house. I thought it was some kids from the farm near by the tree, so I opened the door myself to look inside. It definitely wasn’t a child I saw inside the house, it was a creature I never had seen before. It had a face like a bird with a big purple and yellow bird beak. It was about the size of a cat. It was wearing a brown coat, and it had bony white hands. I was a bit chocked to see this strange creature, and I had no idea if it was friendly or not, but now I was happy I had remembered to put on my fairy communicator, and I just hoped that it would work. I have always believed in, that one comes courtesy of the longest, so I reached out my hand to greet the bird creature hello, and at the same time I tried to look over the shoulder of the creature to see if I could spot Ebbe inside the house. The bird creature took a step forward with his hands stretched out, and it attempted to push me away from the door. Now I heard a noise inside the house, so I forced myself back into the house. It was impossible for me to get my whole body inside, but I had my head and chest inside. I looked around. However, I couldn’t see Ebbe, I called for him, and then I heard a weak call right above my head. It was hard for me to turn my head inside the house so that I could look up above my head, but I was so excited that I tore the door of in my eagerness to find Ebbe. I saw a bundle that hung in the limbs in a rope, and I could see that the bundle had a pair of shoes that looked exactly like Ebbe’s shoes. “I will get you down!” I shouted to Ebbe, but I had to pull myself out of the doorway to be able to grab him. Now the bird creature was pulling my hair, so I had to pacify the angry beast. I pulled myself back and when I was free of the doorway, I grabbed the bird creature by the legs and pulled it out of the house, and then I put it on a tree branch above the tree house. I turned myself so that I could get an arm inside the house to free Ebbe from the robe. It took me some time to free him. The bird creature had done a good job on fixing him with the robe. Ebbe was very scared and he wept all the way down the ladder. The bird creature had jumped my bag, to try to get me away from Ebbe, but at last it gave up retreating back into the tree.

I had to make sure Ebbe got warm again, so I covered him with my coat. We walked back to our house as fast as I could. When we returned home, Selene was out of her mind of worries. I had been away much longer than I thought. Selene and I demanded an explanation from Ebbe, as soon as he was warm enough to talk. He told us how the bird creature had lured him away from our garden. The beast had told Ebbe that Sir Treebreaker (Ebbe’s flying instructor) had broken a wing, and that he had knocked on the bird creature’s door in the tree house to get help. The bird creature had told Ebbe that Sir Treebreaker had asked the beast to find Ebbe. I felt very badly after this incident, I should have warned the twins not to go with any strangers. I know I always told Bjarne and Camilla not to talk to any strangers, when they were children, but I hadn’t had this conversation with the twines jet.

Sir Treebreaker hasn’t been around since late October, when Ebbe had finished his flying lessons. Most butterflies only live for one season, but I couldn’t get it over my heart to tell Ebbe that Sir Treebreaker properly had gone to Valhal by now. I decide that it was time to tell him, and I think it was just about one of the hardest things I ever had to do, because Ebbe had been very fond of Sir Treebreaker, the White Cabbage Butterfly with the strange name and the lovely deep voice, so he cried the whole afternoon. Selene and I tried to cheer him up; after all we didn’t know if he actually was dead, moreover he was a very strange butterfly.

I was worried about the bird creature, how did it know about Ebbe’s flying instructor, and why had it captured Ebbe? To me, it had looked like Ebbe was kept captive to be handed over to someone else, or perhaps the beast had kept him for supper? Who knows? I have decided to ask Mama Kauppa and Plotka if they know of this creature, and if they don’t, I will have to go to the whispering library to see if I can look it up some how.

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