Once upon a time, along long time ago when the world was young and green, the sun used to travel through the skies every day, smiling down on all the creatures and plants. Out of all the creatures she saw each day, she liked the birds the best because their shiny feathers reflected all the different colours of her light, sparkling like jewels. The birds spent their days flying through the trees and fishing in the rivers, eating seeds and preening and admiring their feathers in the sunshine. They loved to talk about how beautiful they were, chatter, chatter all day long. But the sun didn’t mind their chatter and she smiled on them all, making their colours sparkle more.
Then one day, as the sun travelled across the sky, she saw the most beautiful bird she had ever seen sitting in a clearing in a cold, cold forest. As she passed overhead she paused for a little bit longer to watch this bird and smiled to herself a little bit more. The beautiful bird noticed her smiling down on him and smiled back.
The next day, the sun could hardly wait to get to the place in the sky where she would see the beautiful bird. When he saw her, he smiled and said hello. She smiled back and slowed down, pausing to watch him again. The bird liked having the sun above him, keeping him warm and he tried to think of a way to make her stay and so he started to sing. This delighted the sun, who laughed and stayed longer than she should.
Soon, every day the sun would race to the point where the beautiful bird lived and then stop for a while, listening to him sing to her, then carry on her way, hurrying to travel across the rest of the sky before night arrived.
Before long, all the other birds started to notice they were seeing less of the sun, she was paying them far less attention and they started to talk amongst themselves about it. Chatter, chatter. But the sun did not listen to them, she had fallen in love with the beautiful bird. All the other birds decided to follow her to see where she disappeared to so quickly each day and when they saw her, smiling down on the beautiful singing bird they were very jealous. Every day, the sun lingered a little longer with the beautiful bird and every day the other birds became more jealous. Until one night, they held a meeting to try and decide what to do. ‘He’s too beautiful, it’s not fair.’ ‘Why should he get all the sun to bask in?’ ‘What about our feathers?’ Chatter, chatter, all night long.
The next day, the sun rushed so quickly on her way to see the beautiful bird, she didn’t notice that the other birds were watching her. Once again the beautiful bird sang for her and she smiled down on him.
That night, the other birds all gathered together again and this time they set out to find where the beautiful bird slept. They found him fast asleep, deep in the cold, cold forest. They set about plucking his feathers, very quietly so as not to wake him, until they lay all around on the ground and he was left, bare and cold and looking very ugly indeed. As the night drew on, the beautiful bird got colder and colder with no feathers to keep him warm and by the morning, he had become so cold, he didn’t wake up again. Instead he lay where he had fallen asleep, his heart frozen through.
The other birds watched the sun rush to find the beautiful bird the next day, chattering amongst themselves at how she would give them more time now he looked so ugly. But when the sun reached the beautiful bird she could not believe what she saw. There he lay, surrounded by all his feathers, and no matter how hard she smiled, she could not warm him enough to wake him and then she knew he had died and she started to cry. The other birds became rather worried when she started to cry, they had never seen the sun cry before. They cautiously flew over to where she was and when they saw what had happened to the beautiful bird they were very ashamed. They had not meant him to die.
When the sun learnt of what they had done, she was very angry and refused to smile on them any more. Days passed and her crying turned to rain and hail and whenever she saw a bird she clouded over the sky and frowned at them. The birds were distraught. All the other creatures were angry with them and the sun never smiled on them and now even the birds' feathers were turning dull and losing all their colours in the rain.
They held another meeting and tried to think of a way to make it up to the sun. They talked and chattered but no one could think of what to do, until one little bird said, ‘Why don’t we sing to the sun. She liked it when the beautiful bird sang to her. Maybe she would like to hear us sing too.’
So the next day, as the sun appeared the birds started to sing, all at once. The noise was dreadful, and the sun could not help but smile to herself at the sound. The birds were very encouraged by this and the next day they tried it again, singing even louder. The noise was even worse! The sun looked down at the birds with their feathers all dulled by her tears and asked them why they had killed the beautiful bird which she had loved so dearly. And the birds replied they hadn’t meant to kill him, they had just got so jealous of all the attention she was paying him. The sun could see they were truly sorry and so she apologised as well for paying so much attention to the beautiful bird and neglecting her duties. She smiled on them all through her clouds of tears and as she did so, little flashes of colour appeared on their feathers where they caught her smile.
Now, every morning the birds sing to the sun, to try and make up for causing her sadness and the sun cannot help but smile at the dreadful noise they all make.