Fear of Heights

When Bertie and his siblings are old enough, their mum teaches them how to fly. All his brothers and sisters jump out of the nest one by one, but when Bertie looks down… He can’t! It is so very deep. What if he falls and hits the ground? He will be dead!

Mrs Blackbird says that he will grow over the fear. Bertie is not sure… All day long he sits in a corner of the nest, while his siblings zig zag through the sky and yell with pleasure. Bertie is very sad. What if he can never fly..?

One day Mrs Blackbird says she is going to visit Knut’s mum. She doesn’t tell them that she hopes Mrs Eagle-Owl has a solution for Bertie… But she does say: ‘You are all to stay in the nest until I come back! It’s not safe to go and fly on your own. You must learn a little more still!’

Not long after she leaves though… Charlie says: ‘I’m going to fly!’ The others start yelling and pushing, some think he should and some say he should not. Bertie tries to hold him back by holding on to his tailfeathers, but Charlie jumps anyway… Yelling: ‘WHEEEOOO!’

They all watch, except for Bertie. He is too scared. But then he hears his sibling yell: ‘Fly higher! Be carefull! OH NO IT’S THE FOX!’ Now Bertie must take a look. He looks down and sees his brother… in the mouth of the fox!

Somebody has to do something! But no one does. Everybody only yells. Bertie looks around. His mum is nowhere in sight. He looks down again. Charlie is screaming as loud as he can. Bertie can’t watch his own brother being eaten!

He goes and stands on the edge of the nest. He must do something. He lets himself fall into the depth. He hasn’t notices he has closed his eyes. He flaps his wings. He doesn’t fall as fast as he feared… He opens his eyes. He zig zags fairly fast, downwards… He flaps even wilder now. And then he lands with a severe bump. He feels dizzy. For a moment he can’t hear anything, but then he hears his siblings high up in the tree: ‘Fly! Fly away!! Bertie!!’ He looks down. He didn’t land on the ground… He landed on the head of the fox!

bertieonheadfoxtimhupkesThe bang made him open his mouth and Charlie has flown away. From a branch nearby he yells at Bertie to take flight.

And Bertie does. He spread his wings and flaps them like crazy! The fox is slowly coming back to its senses. It bites at Bertie! Bertie flaps and flaps as if his life depends on it. Well, it does…

He hears the jaws of the fox hit. He feels a little painful tug… His tailfeathers! He flaps and flaps and then he is free. He flies home in a not-so-straight line. He lands in the nest with a bang. His siblings all hug him.

When their mother comes back, they all talk at the same time. About how silly Charlie has been. About how brave Bertie was! Bertie says nothing. He is very happy.

The next day they all stand on the edge of the nest. Bertie looks down. He smiles and spreads his wings.