The Sara Nasiba bird

Once upon a time, in a small village in the mountains of India, a small boy - Karim - was playing in his garden. He looked up at the sky where the fiery sun was shining brightly. It was very hot and there was hardly any wind. He could smell the sweet perfume of the flowers in the garden and the spices from the kitchen where his mother was singing as she cooked.

Suddenly, a big shadow fell over the garden and the dust from the ground was whisked up into the air. Karim coughed and tried to shield his eyes from it. There was a loud screeching and then the rustle of leaves and cracking of twigs. The biggest, most beautiful bird that he had ever seen had landed in the big tree!

Karim crept softly to the bottom of the tree. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Three long golden feathers were hanging down from one of the branches and there was a golden glow where the bird was resting. Karim’s mother rushed into the garden but stopped in her tracks at the sight of the bird.

'Oh Karim!' she whispered. 'It’s the Sara Nasiba bird!’

'Sara Nasiba' means ‘Good luck’ in Guajarati - the language that Karim and his family spoke.

'Why is it here, mother?' Karim asked quietly.

'The bird nests only once a year and brings good luck wherever it lays its egg. This year it has chosen our garden, Karim!' his mother said excitedly.

The next day at school Karim told his best friend, Sanjay about the special bird in his garden. Sanjay wanted to see it. After school, they crept into Karim’s garden towards the big tree. But Sanjay pretended to be a bird squawking and started to flap his arms like wings. The Sara Nasiba bird was frightened and screeched loudly flapping its blue and green wings so much that the leaves started dropping to the ground and the whole tree started to shake.

The boys looked up and saw that the Sara Nasiba bird had built a nest and there, about to topple out from it, was a large golden egg. Thinking quickly, Karim opened his arms and as the egg fell from the nest, he caught it and held it tight. The bird stared at Karim with glass green eyes, screeched and flapped its wings again, and flew away.

Karim was cross with Sanjay for frightening the bird. He stood holding the large, warm golden egg. What should he do now? Then he saw the washing hanging out to dry. He took one of his sister’s blankets off the washing line and gently wrapped the egg up in it, like it was a new baby. The egg looked very snug and comfortable. Carefully, Karim walked to the wood-shed next to the house and sat down hugging the egg.

By now, news of the bird’s arrival had reached the village and everyone was coming to visit Karim’s garden. He told them to be very quiet. All the children were so excited but they were very good and sat quietly, watching the golden egg. It was starting to get dark but the egg shone in the moonlight.

Karim held the egg and waited...and waited. It was very late and he felt sleepy now but he soon opened his eyes when he heard the tap, tap, tapping - faintly at first and then louder. The tap, tap, tapping was coming from the egg. The other children had heard it too and now everyone was trying to get a better look. Then a small beak broke through the top of the egg and a flash of yellow appeared. The little bird kept tap, tap, tapping until the golden egg cracked in two. Now the chick sat up in the blanket and the crowd gasped in astonishment.

The baby Sara Nasiba bird shook itself out to show its beautiful green, blue and purple feathers and its long tail, just like its mother’s. Karim counted the golden feathers - one, two, three!

Then suddenly there was a whoosh of wings and the dust whirled in the air. The mother bird had returned and landed again in the tree in Karim’s garden. Everybody covered their eyes. The baby bird tweeted and waddled over to its Mum. She kissed it on the head with her beak. Now she looked at Karim with her glass green eyes and nodded her head as if to say ‘Thank you!’ Then the two birds flew up into the night sky.

Karim watched them go. Then turned to the tree. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Every single leaf had turned to gold. The Sara Nasiba bird had brought good luck to the village, just as his mother had said.

The villagers used the golden leaves to have a new school built and water well was dug for everyone to use. To this day, no one has forgotten about the day the Sara Nasiba bird came, especially Karim who is now very famous

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