How The Little Redbird Became Red

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) - ©WikiC

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) – ©WikiC


Daddys Bedtime Story

A Gray Bird Was Flying Overhead.

Jack and Evelyn had been playing circus all day. Jack had been the big man who stands in the middle of the ring and cracks his whip, while Evelyn had turned somersaults and made pretty bows. They told daddy all about it when he came home that evening, so he said:

“As you’re so fond of circus performing I will certainly have to tell you about the circus the animals gave.

“Cub Bear got it all up, and every animal who went to it had to first agree to do something. And it really was a most marvelous circus. They all marched around in a parade, while the little bears beat the drums. The rabbits rode on the backs of the possums, and the monkeys rode on the backs of the elephants. The chipmunks drove chariots which were drawn by the gray squirrels, and the clowns were the frogs. The rest of the animals caught hands and followed in the march. They laughed and shouted and enjoyed themselves immensely.

“Then all took their seats and one by one did some sort of an act. The monkeys won a great deal of applause by their trapeze acting. Cub Bear walked a rope and danced around on his hind legs. The bunnies rode bicycles, but that ended sadly, as one of them—a son of old Peter Rabbit, who was renowned for his bicycle riding—in trying to show off, fell and skinned his nose. All the other animals gathered around to see what they could do, while the bunny moaned and moaned.

“A gray bird flying over the tent heard the sound of moans and cries and flew in to see what the trouble was, for he was a very kind-hearted bird. He saw that the bunny was really more frightened than hurt, and with his wings he wiped off the blood from the rabbit’s face. The blood-stain never got off the wings of the bird, so ever after he and his family became known as the redbirds.

“The bunny fully recovered and once more felt like himself; but, of course, after the accident, the animals didn’t care to go on performing, so they all sat around the center of the tent and had a most glorious picnic. Refreshments of all kinds were passed around.

“They had pink lemonade, peanuts, popcorn, ice-cream cones, and water taffy. After they’d finished eating they sang all the old-time songs and frisked about, playing and dancing. Bunny Rabbit, who felt quite spry again, frisked about too, and the redbird flew overhead, flapping his wings with joy, for he was so glad everything had turned out so merrily.

“The circus proved such a success and the animals were in such high spirits that they then and there decided to have a circus every year.”

Lee’s Addition:

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, (Luke 10:33 KJV)

When we see someone in need, do we help them? Do we care enough to get involved?

Summer Tanager by Beedie Savage

Summer Tanager by Beedie Savage

We don’t know from the story which kind of “redbird” it was, but Cardinals belong to the Cardinalidae – Grosbeaks, Saltators & Allies Family. If it was a Summer or Scarlet Tanager, then they would have been in the Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies Family which has several “Redbirds.”


Another Bird Tales


Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories – Gutenberg ebooks


Mary Graham Bonner

With four illustrations in color by
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis

Daddys Bedtime Story Images


These stories first appeared in the American Press Association Service and the Western Newspaper Union.

Many of the sketches in this volume are the work of Rebecca McCann, creator of the “Cheerful Cherub,” etc.

Daddy's Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner - 1917

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner – 1917



Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr



  Bird Tales






  Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories




Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC


  Wordless Birds





Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) - ©WikiC



  Cardinalidae – Grosbeaks, Saltators & Allies Family


Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus) ©Nick Athanas



 Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies Family




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