Sunday, April 27, 2008

Burying the dead Magpie-lark

Yes, he is mighty cute. He's wearing my cardigan and mittens that my grandmother brought back for me from Norway in the 60's. I was 3 years old too! But that was 40+ years ago. Vintage boy. He's a cheeky little fella though...........

We had just gotten home from the shops when I hear this little voice chime from out the front door. "Look mummy Look! He's got skin 'hang-ging' off and he's all dead all over!" I wondered, what the..... I then hear the front door squeak open and as I turn in it's direction, I see my little son walking into the house clutching the feet of a very sorry looking magpie-lark. Like all boys before him, he was very excited indeed! "Look!! Look, mummy! Look!! He's got hang-ging off skin and he's all 'torn-ed' open! Look!!" I let out a yelp and then calmly instructed him to please leave the bird on the front step.

"But WHY??"
"Because we don't bring dead birds into the house, mate."
"Why not??"
"Sigh.....It's time for you to wash your hands."
"Why?? I din-dn't use the toilet."

He reminded me of my childhood cat of decades gone by, who would bring into the house all sorts of presents for us; mice, gophers (this was in South Dakota), garden snakes, the occasional Robin. He just would be so so proud of his finds, grinning that special kind of cat grin.

So, I did what all mothers do, I wrapped the bird up in old newspaper.

Then we went to the side of the house where the bubster chose a spot for burial. He was very decisive and knew the bird should be buried under a nice tree. While we were digging the hole a large Currawong came by to watch. Our little guy comments, "That the little birds mummy. She's very sad." I said, trying to be instructive, "Yes, she would be, if she was his mother. That is a different kind of bird." "It isn't!! It IS the birdy's mother!" I acquiesce, "Oh ok. She's come by to watch." "Yes, then after the baby bird is bur-ee-ied, he comes alive again and they fly off together!" "That sounds like a lovely idea." And we left it at that.

Death is not a taboo subject in our house. Magnus has 3 siblings that died before he was born. He knows that they died but that is about as far as his understanding of it goes. He lately has been trying to understand what it means to die, something even us old folks have trouble grasping. But, clearly, he knows that a mummy bird would be sad if her baby bird died. Maybe that is all anyone really needs to understand.


Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

He's a cutie for sure. That cardigan and mittens are wonderful. Great bird story too.

Karin said...

Thank you!

My grandmother was very good at knitting mittens just like the ones he's wearing. One of my goals is to learn that kind of Norwegian pattern work. Not a small goal!


Dr. Joanne Cacciatore said...

"That the little birds mummy. She's very sad."

Oh Karin...what a gem! Of course she's very sad (nevermind if it's even a different species, I get his point)...

Kiss him for Jojo

Kerrie said...

Oh ((((Magnus))))...wise beyond his years.

Jennifer Howard said...

I've tried to leave a comment three times and hopefully this will work! (Dial up ERRRR!)
I wanted to say, your little one's ability to make such a connection (even if it was a different type of bird) is astounding to me. I adore him! What a sweet one you've been blessed with. Thank you for sharing this story, it's timeless and to be treasured. PEACE
aka MM