Scratch and the Baby Sparrow
Cast and Setting: Scratch a black cat, the first born son of The Lady’s own familiar. Jess – Brede’s Raven familiar. Brede: a hedge witch who lives with her elf husband, Dalaigh (pronounced Daley) on a homestead called BrightRock. Heartshorn and EarthSide – two sides of our world, one the spiritual side where magic works, the other the mundane. Brede and Dalaigh live on Heartshorn.
One fine spring day, Scratch was wandering through the woods near BrightRock when he heard Jess making a big fuss. Quickly he made his way to where Jess was screeching and diving at a snake. Between Jess and the snake lay a small sparrow just starting to fledge. Scratch lowered himself to the ground and slinked close to the snake. Then he pounced, grabbed the snake behind its head, shook the snake hard and flung it into the underbrush closer to the creek. Knowing he wasn’t going to have sparrow chick for dinner, the snake slithered off to find a less well-defended meal.
Scratch inched up to the chick. It was still alive, although winded and very frightened. Scratch looked up at Jess and mindspoke, “Tell it that everything will be all right. I see its nest and will put it back.” Jess cawed at the chick then turned and cawed for the sparrow parents. They weren’t far away, just in the next tree. They flew to their nest and both started chattering at Jess. Jess closed his eyes and winced as if being pecked. Suddenly he cawed one large CROAK and the sparrows shut up. Then he opened his eyes and mind spoke to them that Scratch was going to put their baby back in the nest. Immediately they started chattering again.
Scratch had had enough. He grew to the size of moderate bear, bent down and grabbed the chick in his mouth then raised on his hind legs and deposited the chick safely in the nest.
Once more there was silence. The sparrows looked from Scratch to Jess and from Jess to scratch. And then they bowed and mind spoke their thanks.
Scratch resumed his house-cat size and wandered some more through the woods. Jess followed, hopping from branch to branch until they came to the stream. Scratch took a drink then sat down to wash.
“Now, Jess, what was so special about that sparrow chick? Why did you make such a fuss?” Scratch asked.
“That little sparrow has been touched by the Lady’s consort. He’s to be Dalaigh’s messenger.” Jess said.
” Ah! Then it begins soon,” Scratch answered.
Six weeks went by and the little bird grew. He was a constant presence around Bright Rock, especially whenever Dalaigh came outside. Soon the sparrow was sitting on the elf’s shoulder, traveling everywhere with him even as he visited his parents at their Council Wood home.
Dalaigh came home one day after such a visit and went straight to the stone house and started packing a back pack. Brede came in and watched.
“What happened?” she asked.
“The dragon council met. They need me to go Earthside for a while, maybe a year or more,” he answered.
“Why so long?” Brede asked, “What do you need to do?”
“I’m to look into what’s happening over there. It seems that the Earth is suffering and its problems are spilling over here. I have to see if there’s anything we can do about it.”
“I’ve noticed things here,” she said, “I have more clients than ever, many of them asking for fertility potions. Please be careful.”
Dalaigh nodded and kissed her. “I will. I’m taking Biddy with me. He can return and bring you news.”
With that, Dalaigh, shouldered his back pack and whistled to the little bird. They set off up the path that led to the dragon trail that would take him EarthSide.
In the far distance, a mournful bird call floated over the clouds.