Alice And the
Pigeon by T. S.
ONE evening in winter as Alice, a dear little girl whom everybody
loved, pushed aside the curtains of her bedroom window, she saw the
moon half hidden by great banks of clouds, and only a few stars
peeping out here and there. Below, the earth lay dark, and cold. The
trees looked like great shadows.
There was at change in her sweet face as she let fall the curtain
and turned from the window.
"Poor birds!" she said.
"They are all safe," answered her mother, smiling. "God has
provided for every bird a place of rest and shelter, and each one
knows where it is and how to find it. Not many stay here in the winter
time, but fly away to the sunny south, where the air is warm and the
trees green and fruitful."
"God is very good," said the innocent child. Then she knelt with
folded hands, and prayed that her heavenly further would bless
everybody, and let his angels take care of her while she slept. Her
mother's kiss was still warm upon her lips as she passed into the
world of pleasant dreams.
In the morning, when Alice again pushed back the curtains from her
window, what a sight of wonder and beauty met her eyes! Snow had
fallen, and everything wore a garment of dazzling whiteness. In the
clear blue sky, away in the cast, the sun was rising; and as his
beams fell upon the fields, and trees, and houses, every object
glittered as if covered all over with diamonds.
But only for a moment or two did Alice look upon this beautiful
picture, for a slight movement drew her eyes to a corner of the
window-sill, on the outside, and there sat a pigeon close against the
window-pane, with its head drawn down and almost hidden among the
feathers, and its body shivering with cold. The pigeon did not seem to
be afraid of her, though she saw its little pink eyes looking right
into her own.
"O, poor, dear bird!" she said in soft, pitying tones, raising the
window gently, so that it might not be frightened away. Then she
stepped back and waited to see if the bird would not come in. Pigeon
raised its brown head in a half scared away; turned it to this side
and to that; and after looking first at the, comfortable chamber and
then away at the snow-covered earth, quietly hopped upon the sill
inside. Next he flew upon the back of a chair, and then down upon the
"Little darling," said Alice, softly. Then she dressed herself
quickly, and went down stairs for some crumbs of bread, which she
scattered on the floor. The pigeon picked them up, with scarcely a
sign of fear.
As soon as he had eaten up all the crumbs, he flew back towards the
window and resting on the sill, swelled his glossy throat and cooed
his thanks to his little friend. After which darted away, the morning
sunshine glancing from wings.
A feeling of disappointment crept into the heart of Alice as the
bird swept out of sight. "Poor little darling!" she sighed. "If he
had only known how kind I would have been, and how safe he was here,
what nice food and pure water would have been given, he wouldn't have
When Alice told about the visit of pigeon, at breakfast time, a
pleasant surprise was felt by all at the table. And they talked of,
doves and wood-pigeons, her father telling her once or two nice
stories, with which she was delighted. After breakfast, her mother
took a volume from the library containing Willis's exquisite poem,
"The little Pigeon," and gave it to Alice to read. She soon knew it
all by heart.
A great many times during the day Alice stood at the open door, or
looked from the windows, in hope of seeing the pigeon again. On a
distant house-top, from which the snow had been melted or blown away,
or flying through the air, she would get sight of a bird now and then;
but she couldn't tell whether or not it was the white and brown pigeon
she had sheltered and fed in the morning. But just before sundown, as
she stood by the parlor window, a cry of joy fell from her lips. There
was the pigeon sitting on a fence close by, and looking, it seemed to
her, quite forlorn.
Alice threw open the window, and then ran into the kitchen for some
crumbs of bread. When she came back, pigeon was still on the fence.
Then she called to him, holding out her her hand scattering a few
crumbs on the window-sill. The bird was hungry and had sharp eyes,
and when he saw Alice he no doubt remembered the nice meal she had
given him in the morning, in a few moments he flew to the window, but
seemed half afraid. So Alice stood a little back in the room, when he
began to pick up the crumbs. Then she came nearer and nearer, holding
out her hand that was full of crumbs, and as soon as pigeon had picked
up all that was on the sill, he took the rest of his evening meal from
the dear little girl's hand. Every now and then he would stop and look
up at his kind friend, as much as to say, "Thank you for my nice
supper. You are so good!" When he had eaten enough, he cooed a little,
bobbed his pretty head, and then lifted his wings and flew away.
He did not come back again. At first Alice, was disappointed, but
this soon wore off, and only a feeling of pleasure remained.
"I would like so much to see him and feed him," she said. "But I
know he's better off and happier at his own home, with a nice place
to sleep in and plenty to eat, than sitting on a window-sill all
night in a snow storm." And then she would say over that sweet poem,
"The City Pigeon," which her mother had given her to get by heart.
Here it is, and I hope every one of my little readers will get it by
"Stoop to my window, thou beautiful dove! Thy daily visits have
touched my love. I watch thy coming, and list the note That stirs so
low in thy mellow throat, And my joy is high To catch the glance of
thy gentle eye.
"Why dost thou sit on the heated eaves, And forsake the wood with
its freshened leaves? Why dost thou haunt the sultry street, When the
paths of the forest are cool and sweet? How canst thou bear This
noise of people—this sultry air?
"Thou alone of the feathered race Dost look unscared on the human
face; Thou alone, with a wing to flee, Dost love with man in his
haunts to be; And the 'gentle dove' Has become a name for trust and
"A holy gift is thine, sweet bird! Thou'rt named with childhood's
earliest word! Thou'rt linked with all that is fresh and wild In the
prisoned thoughts of the city child; And thy glossy wings Are its
brightest image of moving things.
"It is no light chance. Thou art set apart, Wisely by Him who has
tamed thy heart, To stir the love for the bright and fair That else
were sealed in this crowded air I sometimes dream Angelic rays front
thy pinions stream.
"Come then, ever, when daylight leaves The page I read, to my
humble eaves, And wash thy breast in the hollow spout, And murmur thy
low sweet music out! I hear and see Lessons of heaven, sweet bird, in