A little bird sat on a twig of a tree,
A swinging and singing as glad as could be;
And shaking his tail and smoothing his dress,
And having such fun as you never could guess.
And when he had finished his gay little song,
He flew down on the street and went hopping along;
This way and that way with both little feet,
While his sharp little eyes looked for something to eat.
A little boy said to him, "Little bird, stop
And tell me the reason you go with a hop.
Why don't you walk as boys do, or men,
One foot at a time, like a duck or a hen?"
Then the little bird went with a hop, hop, hip;
And he laughed as if he never would stop.
And he said, "Little boy, there are some birds that talk,
And some birds that hop, and some birds that walk.
"Use your eyes, little boy, watch closely and see
Which little birds hop, both feet first, like me;
Which little birds walk, like the duck and the hen,
And when you know that, you'll know more than most men.
"Every bird that can scratch in the dust can walk;
Every bird that can wade in the water can walk;
Every bird that has claws to catch prey with can walk;
One foot at a time, that's the way that they walk.
"But most birds that can sing you a song,
Are so small that their legs are not very strong
To scratch with, or wade with, or catch things; that's why
They hop with both feet. Little boy, good-bye."