Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/The legend of the redbreast
THE LEGEND OF THE REDBREAST.
“There is a little bird, mamma,
Upon our holly-tree.
And with his twinkling great black eye
He looks so shy at me.
“I love that little bird, mamma,
So gentle and so still,
To see him pluck the berries bright,
Between his slender bill.
“That he is God's ‘own bird,’ mamma,
You very oft have said:
Why is his little eye so bright,
His little breast so red?”
“It is a pretty tale, my child,
Come stand beside my knee,
And I will tell my little Kate
Red Robin’s history.
“When Jesus for my little girl
And all his children died,
By wicked men unto the cross,
Nailed fast and crucified;
“There came a gentle little bird,
Who, with his efforts weak,
Pluck’d one from out the ‘crown of thorns’
Within his tiny beak.
“And as he pull’d, the crimson stream,
The holiest and the best,
Flowing from where the thorn had been,
Stain’d Robin’s downy breast:
“So ever when the snow comes round
To end the wintry year,
Perch’d high upon the holly-bough
The Redbreast warbles clear.
“No other songster on the spray
At Christmas time is heard;
But when the Saviour’s birth we keep
We hear ‘The Saviour's bird.’”
Astley H. Baldwin.