Morning sunbeams were just picking their way through the branches of the firs. Munro woke up. There were strange noises. He couldn’t identify them.
He heard a soft thump and then a sliding sound and then the “aaah” of a plant as it unbent. Munro left his nest under the juniper and peered through the fern. He saw three walking trees with strange shiny roots. The branches were holding flat pieces of wood.
“Prime real estate!”
“It’s going to take a lot of work, Cal...these trees are BIG!”
“Maybe we should look elsewhere,” said another, a little hesitantly.
Munro realized the “trees” were humans, businessmen of some sort with clipboards.
“No way,” said Cal, “This is perfect, close to the town for the infrastructure.”
“And there are millions of trees in this province, Bert, a few hundred or so less won’t matter. “ I don’t care what that environment lady said,” Al declared.
“Well....” ventured Bert, “the mayor hasn’t given us the go ahead yet anyway.” He turned on his heel and bumped into a huge tree trunk. “Ouch! Let’s go.” And off they went, crushing delicate ferns as they went.
Munro didn’t know what to make of it so he shrugged his tiny shoulders and went back to his lonely sad thoughts. It didn’t really matter what Thunderbird said about the raven, he still wanted him as a friend. A bad friend was better than no friend, he reasoned.
Munro stood at the foot of the tree condo and waited for Midas to wake up. He pecked at a few seeds and gulped some dew from a fern. Then, tired of waiting, he pecked a few times on the trunk and looked up. Midas appeared, feathers rumpled and grumpy.
“What do you want?” he croaked, “ I didn’t ask you for a wake-up call, now did I?”
Munro told him about the businessmen and what they said, straining his voice so that Midas could hear. That woke the raven up in a hurry.
“No way! I’ll have to get rid of them. This is my territory! Come on. Let’s go.” And Midas plummeted down, grazing Munro’s sleek head with his wing feathers.
Munro couldn’t keep up with Midas, of course, and said he would wait.
Flying above the treetops, Midas located the trio easily and followed them as they made their way through the forest.
“Wow, that’s a big bird,” remarked Bert, looking up as Midas flapped by.
“A raven,” Cal said, “it looks like it’s following us.”
“No problem...just a bird,’ sneered Al.
“Huh! I’ll show you,” thought Midas and he plowed right through Bert’s hair and then gave Cal a vicious peck on the nape of his neck. Al ducked but not in time. He was bald and the peck on the top of his head drew blood. The men took off on the run slipping on the undergrowth in their shiny city shoes.
Munro didn’t see Midas all morning. He had a morning nap in the shade of the ferns and then scratched around in the soft earth at the foot of the condo. He wondered if he would ever see Thunderbird again or if the huge creature had given up on trying to persuade him to abandon his new friend. What was Midas up to? Munro was getting very curious.
When darkness fell, his wish was granted. Suddenly, Thunderbird swooshed down to his little nest under the ferns. Munro was not frightened this time, although the gigantic bird was just as awesome as before with his flashing red eyes.
“Are you still here? I thought I told you to leave!”
Munro told him about the men with the clipboards and how upset Midas was about their plans. Thunderbird spread his huge wings and then closed them again. For a minute he said nothing and then, “I’ve changed my mind. I want you to stay.”
Somehow Munro felt a little better. Perhaps Thunderbird would help him.
“Not for you, but for the sake of the forest, which in the end is for you. Tomorrow you will receive a special visitor. This visitor is Sparrow-Girl.”
And with that, Thunderbird rose into the darkness, brushing saplings with his wings and leaving a trail of fireflies behind him.
Munro fell asleep wondering about Sparrow-Girl. Who and what was she and how could she help him?