THE MAGPIE'S NEST
BY JOSEPH JACOBS
 ALL the birds of the air came to the magpie and asked her to
teach them how to build nests. For the magpie is the
cleverest bird of all at building nests. So she put all the
birds round her and began to show them how to do it. First
of all she took some mud and made a sort of round cake with
"Oh, that's how it's done!" said the thrush, and away it
flew; and so that's how thrushes build their nests.
Then the magpie took some twigs and arranged them round in
"Now I know all about it!" said the blackbird, and off it
flew; and that's how the blackbirds make their nests to this
Then the magpie put another layer of mud over the twigs.
"Oh, that's quite obvious!" said the wise owl, and away it
flew; and owls have never made better nests since.
After this the magpie took some twigs and twined them round
"The very thing!" said the sparrow, and off he went; so
sparrows make rather slovenly nests to this day.
 Well, then Madge magpie took some feathers and stuff, and
lined the nest very comfortably with it.
"That suits me!" cried the starling, and off it flew; and
very comfortable nests have starlings.
So it went on, every bird taking away some knowledge of how
to build nests, but none of them waiting to the end.
Meanwhile Madge magpie went on working and working without
looking up, till the only bird that remained was the
turtle-dove, and that had n't paid any attention all along,
but only kept on saying its silly cry: "Take two, Taffy,
At last the magpie heard this just as she was putting a twig
across, so she said: "One's enough."
But the turtle-dove kept on saying: "Take two, Taffy, take
Then the magpie got angry and said: "One's enough, I tell
Still the turtle-dove cried: "Take two, Taffy, take
At last, and at last, the magpie looked up and saw nobody
near her but the silly turtle-dove, and then she got rarely
angry and flew away and refused to tell the birds how to
build nests again.
And that is why different birds build their nests
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