[He places the corn on the wall.]
GRETEL. There’s none about to see it!
PEASANT. Oh, some bird will soon find it!
GRETEL. But will it call the others?
PEASANT. We’ll wait to see. Come, we’ll sit there on the log.
[They go to a log near by.]
FIRST STONE. There, little Sparrow, say you now there is no kindness?
SECOND STONE. Or love?
THIRD STONE. Or friendship?
SPARROW. No, no! I can never say that again. The peasant’s heart is full of kindness and love and friendship. I will sing of it! ’T will be my Christmas song!
[The Sparrow leaves the hole and flies to the corn.]
GRETEL. Look, father, there is a sparrow! And hear it sing! Just hear it!
PEASANT. It is calling the other birds.
GRETEL. Why, it doesn’t even touch the corn!
PEASANT. It’s waiting to share it with the others. Is it not a pretty sight? Come, we must go to tell mother.
TIME: one month later.
PLACE: same as SCENE III.
* * * * *
THE VERY OLD SPARROW.
THE OLD SPARROW.
THE YOUNG SPARROW.
THE VERY YOUNG SPARROW.
THE WICKED ELF.
* * * * *
[All the SPARROWS except Our Sparrow sit on the stone wall.]
YOUNG SPARROW. I say the stranger should be driven away!
VERY YOUNG SPARROW. So say I!
OLD SPARROW. The stranger is a sparrow, but still not a sparrow.
VERY OLD SPARROW. And yet she is only different by a tuft of white feathers.
YOUNG SPARROW. And such a tuft! For all the world like a loaf of bread!
VERY YOUNG SPARROW. I’d think it shame to carry such on my head!
OLD SPARROW. I fear ’t will shame us all to have this stranger about.
VERY OLD SPARROW. And yet we are not ashamed to eat the crumbs this stranger brings.
OLD SPARROW. Well, ’t is true she has been most kind.
VERY OLD SPARROW. ’T is a hard winter! Shall we drive away the one who finds food where we find none?
YOUNG SPARROW. And calls us every time!
VERY YOUNG SPARROW. And never eats till we have come!
VERY OLD SPARROW. I’ve kept in mind the crumbs she has found us. Now, how many do you think?
OLD SPARROW. I cannot say, for I did not think to notice.
VERY OLD SPARROW. There only lacks two or three now of being a loaf.
OTHER SPARROWS (greatly surprised). A loaf?
VERY OLD SPARROW (nodding). A loaf.
VERY YOUNG SPARROW. Here comes the stranger now!
OLD SPARROW. She brings a crust!
[OUR SPARROW flies up with a crust in its bill.]