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The Magical Bird Bath
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The Jones family were looking at yet another house to buy, so far they had viewed twelve houses and this one was number thirteen.
They thought this house was slightly better than the others and were slowly walking from room to room.
Their young son Paul was bored with walking through empty rooms, so decided to explore the garden. As soon as he opened the back door and saw the size of the garden he knew this was the house he wanted to live in. Besides being huge the garden had lots of trees and bushes and tucked away behind a big bush was a wooden bench.
Paul was just about to sit on it when he noticed there was a brass plate on the back of the bench with writing on it. It simply said. "NANCY'S BENCH"
As the house agent wandered into the garden with his parents, Paul ran over and took them to see the bench hidden away behind the bush. The agent explained that the house used to belong to an old couple and the woman, whose name had been Nancy, sat for hours each day watching the birds fly down to drink from the bird bath.
"There was a rumour," the agent explained, "that the bird bath was magical, but I suppose we will never know."
"I can't see any bird bath," Paul said in a disappointed voice.
"Maybe we can put another one there," his Mother said with a smile.
"Are we going to buy this house?" Paul asked excitedly.
"Yes dear, it's by far the nicest we have seen," his Mother replied.
Within weeks they moved into the house and Paul spent most of his time playing in the garden. The bottom of the garden was overgrown and piled high with garden rubbish.
Paul had just stubbed his toe on what he thought was a big stone, but as he looked closely he saw it was round with pictures of tiny birds and animals etched into it. He ran back to the house and dragged his Dad down to dig the round stone out.
It was indeed the bird bath, but it was broken into three pieces. Seeing the sad look on his Son's face Paul's Dad promised to try and mend it.
In the next couple of days the bird bath was scrubbed clean and his Dad cemented the pieces together. "Don't try and put any water in it for a while," his Dad instructed, "Give the cement time to dry".
Paul ran down to check on the bird bath the next morning and was surprised to see fresh clear water in it. Thinking it must have rained in the night he didn't give it another thought.
He sat on the bench and waited to see if any birds would fly down to drink. First there came a robin, closely followed by a grey squirrel.
Paul made a habit of sitting on the bench watching the birds every day but he liked the evenings best, just before the sun set, there was a soft warm glow about the place at that time of day.
One day Paul noticed that the water level was very low and was just about to go and fill a bucket to top it up when he noticed it slowly started to fill on its own. "But where was the water coming from?" Paul asked himself.
The next day Paul watched the bird bath refill itself yet again.
He was just about to go indoors when he noticed a white fluffy ball in the long grass, he bent down and found a white rabbit laying on its side, its eyes were closed but it was still breathing.
Paul could see the rabbit had obviously broken its leg, so he gently picked it up and took it over to the bird bath to give it a drink.
He dipped his finger in the water and gently tried to wet the rabbit's lips.
The rabbit suddenly twitched and Paul dropped it straight into the water.
"Oh, I'm so sorry", he said, and quickly scooped the rabbit out.
The rabbit opened its eyes, gave Paul an angry look, bit his finger and jumped down to the ground, shook himself and ran away.
Paul sat on the bench not believing what he had just seen, not only was the rabbit alright, but there was no sign of him ever having a broken leg.
Paul realised that the bird bath was indeed magical, it could fill itself and the water could heal animals.
As the weeks and months passed, Paul often found injured birds and small animals in the garden.
How they knew to come to this garden he didn't know, but he picked them up, the same as he had done with the rabbit, and once they had drunk from the magical waters they flew or walked away.
Paul smiled to himself as he remembered some of the creatures.
There had been a hedgehog that couldn't curl its self into a ball, quite a few birds with broken wings, a tortoise that was losing its shell, a rabbit that had lost his front tooth and even cats that had injuries.
Even though cats were usually scared of water, they seemed to know that this water would make them better.
Paul's favourite had been a young fox which had limped into the garden looking scared, with deep gashes to his face. At first he wouldn't allow Paul to pick him up, but once he realised he was a friend he let Paul sit him in the bird bath and drank deeply from the water.
After he was healed, he sat quietly at Paul's feet washing himself and most nights returned to the garden and sat peacefully watching the other creatures drinking from the bird bath.
Paul kept the secret of the magical water to himself as this was his place in the garden and he didn't want to share it with anyone.
Only on quiet, still nights could he hear what sounded like a woman's voice saying gently. "Come my little darlings, come and drink."
Had anyone listened, they would have heard Paul reply. "Goodnight Nancy."
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