Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 4 Storytelling: The Songbird's Fate

          Many years ago, in the heart of the forest lived a family of happy little songbirds. These songbirds were undeniably beautiful. Each bird of the family was a different vibrant color. Some members of the family were green, some yellow, some red; some were even a mixture of the colors. Other creatures of the forest argued that they were the most magnificent birds on earth.
          These birds were known throughout the forest not only for their beautiful feathers but also their song. They sang each day filling the forest with their warm, joyful songs. These creatures were exalted by everyone near and far. These birds were a blessing to the forest.
          Time went by and the songbird family continued to be loved by every creature in the forest, and beyond. One day, something strange happened. A mother was ready to have children. She laid her eggs, incubating them diligently and carefully, but one of the eggs was simply unlike the others. Unlike the usual bright, blue color of the eggs, this egg was a dark blue-purple. Some even thought it was black.
          This made no difference to the mother. She loved her children equally and incubated them all the same, until the day they hatched! The mother was so proud of her children as they each one by one began to break through their shells. Every single egg was beginning to hatch but the dark little egg. The mother, worried that she might lose a child, began to examine the egg. She gently rocked it in hopes to encourage this little baby songbird to hatch. A few days went by, and the mother mourned, assuming her child was dead.
          The mother few off to get food for her other children only to be shocked upon her return; the dark little egg was no longer, but instead replaced by a beautiful, multicolored little songbird. The mother rejoiced as she saw that her child was alive. This little bird was the most wonderfully beautiful bird anyone had ever seen. He lived its entire life being praised and loved, and all this praise began to get to his head.
          “I am the best bird in the entire forest!” sang the little bird, “There will never be anyone as beautiful and sing as perfectly as I do.”
          The gods heard this little bird, hoping he would someday realize how arrogantly he lived his life, but the bird did not change. He continued to live his life entitled and mean. He took things from others saying, “I am the most beautiful. I should have what I want.”
The corruption of his ways never once crossed his mind despite the warnings from his family. The gods could take it no longer. They took the bird's beauty away. He was cursed to die in a terrible, sudden way if he did not change his ways and humble his heart.
          The bird, while distraught by his new feathers, was not fazed. He continued to be a mean, terrible bird tormenting members of his family. His fate was coming for him, but he did not heed the warnings, even teaching his children to be as arrogant and selfish as he was.
          One day, as the bird was singing loudly and arrogantly to his family, he was shot. The hunter tip-toed upon him with no sound, no warning. His life ended suddenly, and tragically, just as his curse predicted.
          As the poor little bird took his last few breaths, he sang to his family above, “Let me be an example to you. No longer should you live as I did or you will see the same fate.”
Image of a Mountain Bluebird provided by Wikipedia 

Author’s Note: This story was taken from the introduction of Buck’s Ramayana. In this story, a songbird was going about its day, only to be maliciously killed by a hunter. It was a seemingly insignificant story as a rushed explanation as to how Valmiki became the poet. In the story, Valmiki saw the songbird's death and cursed the hunter. The words he used to curse the hunter came out in the form of a poem, and hence the beginning of his career as the poet of Ramayana. While it seemed that the bird was killed for no apparent reason by the hunter, I took a different approach to the story. I took the story to display a story of birth, death and also the circle of Karma. The bird was born different. He was given a gift of undeniable and incomparable beauty and song. He was exulted far and wide, and he let this interfere with his character. Valmiki only saw half of the story. The bird received warning after warning, but still did not listen. He lived a terrible life, and in turn received a terrible death. Karma and character are two very important aspects of Indian culture, and this story simplified that to the small, seemingly insignificant life of the songbird. I chose this image because it is such a beautiful picture of a wonderful native bird. This image captured the stark beauty of the songbird I was trying to convey through my description. In my story, the songbird's blue feathers were bright and extravagant much like that of the Mountain Bluebird. 

Bibliography: Buck, William (1976). Ramayana: King Rama's Way.


  1. Gloria I really enjoyed how you gave the songbird his own unique background story. At the beginning I was unsure of what the story was going to end with besides him getting shot, but I did not think that you would use as a lesson of karma. That was a great way to tie the story together with of the great Indian beliefs. The idea of karma is so constant in their stories and in present day stories as well. I would like to think their are endless story ideas we could use karma for and am hoping that many more will do what you did here. Great job.


    Man, you are so creative. You did a wonderful job setting up the story and creating lots of imagery. I was really captured and driven to keep reading..I kept waiting for the moment where you connected your story to what we had read and as I was nearing the end I wondered if it was even going to happen..and then BAM. Genius. This is probably one of my favorite stories so far.

    Great job!

  3. Gloria, I like that you decided to write about the death of the songbird. It’s such an original idea. One thing that I did notice was that you may have used an extra comma in this phrase “until the day, they hatched!” I personally do not think that there should be a comma after “day” because it just seems awkward but I’m also not a grammar wizard. I would just check online for specific comma rules. Another thing I noticed was the awkward phrasing of some sentences. For example, at one point you write “they each one by one began,” but I think it would sound better if you put “one by one” after “began.” In another sentence, you write “Every single egg was beginning to hatch but the dark little egg.” Here, I think instead of using “but” you should use except because I feel like it flows better and is the best word to use. Another mistake, I found was a small type where you wrote “few” but meant to write “flew.” Overall, you did a great job and these are very minor mistakes. The layout of your blog made it very easy to read.

  4. Hi Gloria! First off I loved reading your story, I really feel like it's a breath of fresh air compared to all the other stories that concern different characters from the Ramayana. I did notice that there was some misspellings and improper comma placements, but no big deal. One thing I wonder about in your story is that you chose to make the bird very arrogant and his death to be an act of karma for his selfishness. In Buck's version the tragedy is because the hunter kills a bird in the middle of its song. I find it really interesting that you switched the tragedy of the bird's death to the bird itself instead of the hunter, who we later read suffers a lot of karma for killing the bird. Overall, you did a great job with your story and I thought it was very creative! I would just try to maybe proofread out loud in the future :)

  5. Gloria,

    I really enjoyed your story! I noticed a few errors in your writing, but so did your other commenters, so I won't harp on them. I know that can be frustrating. I think that your author's note really helped to add perspective to the story. I had no idea what the context of the story was until I read your note. I really enjoyed how you expanded on such a small part of the Ramayana, made it your own, and created an exciting and original story. I found it so sad that the little bird turned out to have a big ego. I was hoping he would have a good fate, and not a bad one. However, the way you twisted the story to the bird being a villain really gave it a fun story line, and I enjoyed it all the way through. Like the others, I suggest that you proofread your stories by reading them all the way through before you publish them. It helps to prevent simple errors. The layout of your blog complements the writing well. It is easy to read and see. Best of luck with your writing for the rest of the semester, and I look forward to reading what else you have to write!

  6. Gloria, what a creative story! I really like how you elaborated on such a brief part of the book. The hunter was portrayed strictly as a villain, but it's cool how your story makes him part of a larger plot to send a message about arrogance. Your back story was really imaginative and well-detailed. I wasn't expecting that the beautiful, gifted bird would turn out so mean! That twist definitely added some complexity to the story. Also, the writing is really good. Your descriptions and dialogue are great, and they paint a good picture for the reader.

    I love the image you chose to go with your story! It's perfect. It's nice to have some sort of visual as to what you thought of when you were writing about the most beautiful bird in the forest. And you put a lot of good information in your author's note. It's appropriately descriptive. This seems like an excellent start to your portfolio, and I look forward to reading more.


  7. Hey Gloria,

    I really enjoyed that way you took such a small part of the story and really expanded on it in such a creative way. Your usage of details and descriptions really brought your story to life. I completely agree with you about Karma and Character being important components in all aspects of the Indian culture, and you did an excellent job of demonstrating that. What really caught my attention about Karma is the parental lesson at the end. It really made me think of when parents say, “do as I say, not as I do” because they know the negative consequences that will happen to you if you do not listen. It was a great way of demonstrating the powerfulness of Karma.

    In the beginning of the story I think that you should include the color blue, since the picture you have used is of a blue bird. It is a really great way to tie everything together. Also, in your second paragraph you begin almost every sentence with the word “these” which makes it sound very repetitive and breaks up the flow a little bit. Otherwise, excellent job! I absolutely loved it.

  8. Hello Gloria!

    I'm so glad you chose this story, because I really liked it and have been wanting to read someone's retelling of it :)

    You did a good job of building up the "reputation" of the birds in their forest, giving the reader an image and an idea of how revered the birds are. You transitioned beautifully into the focus of the songbird mom and her eggs.

    One suggestion I have is to separate the paragraphs so that there is space between each one, making the read smoother.
    When talking about the new hatchling, a sentence starts "He lived its entire life"--I would replace "its" with "his".

    You made this story entirely your own, and I really appreciate that kind of creative writing! It was a fun and easy read, and provides an excellent moral that was not present in the Ramayana (at least, not linked to the songbird). Well done!

  9. Hi Gloria!
    I really love your story! I think that it was so cool that you thought to give the songbird its own story since it was so insignificant in the original! While reading this story, I totally expected the bird to be nice or something so I was surprised! I also think that you did a really good job being descriptive in your story and I like the moral that you added at the end.
    One suggestion I have is to rewrite some of your sentences. A few of them sounded a little awkward when I read them. One was: "Every single egg was beginning to hatch but the dark little egg." The end of this sentence was weird to me. Maybe say but the little dark egg was not? Also where you said "the dark little egg was no longer" sounded weird, so maybe just look at that sentence again.
    Overall, I really liked your story! Good luck with the rest of your portfolio and I can't wait to read more!

  10. Hi Gloria! I also wrote a story of the songbird but haven’t used it for my portfolio yet. I’m so glad someone else pictured the songbird in the same way I did. We used similar photos. Your story caught my attention from the get go and left me wanting more. I love your style of storytelling. I like that you included details like “She gently rocked it in hopes to encourage this little baby songbird to hatch.” It brought a visual of a very impatient person that has to keep moving to keep from going crazy. I can also appreciate the little use of dialog. It made for a strong story. What a great take on the story, it was not what I was expecting from the gentle nature of the mother…. but the way you handled the way the gods wanted to handle the situation left me in suspense. Can’t wait to read more of your stories.

  11. Gloria,

    what an interesting story! I didn't even remember the bird from Buck's story until I read your author's note and was reminded. I really love storytelling posts that take the most minute details and make them truly significant. I really like your portrayal of karma in this story. Maybe the bird even came back in his next life as a bad character in "The Ramayana."

    The strongest point of your story is by far the details used in describing the beauty of the birds, and I think that was a good choice. Those details are important because of the beauty of the birds is really prevalent to the moral of the story.

    One thing that you could work on here is making the reader feel more in touch with the story. As I was reading it, I didn't really feel connected to it or involved in it, if that makes sense. It reminded me of a Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme, where the characters are vague and the focus is really the general moral. But I think if there's a connection with the characters or setting it can help amplify the moral even more! Good job.

    "Many years ago, in the heart of the forest lived a family of happy little songbirds." - should be a comma after "forest" because "in the heart of the forest" is a relative clause!

    "The mother few off to get food for her other children..." - should be "The mother flew off"

    "He lived its entire life being praised and loved" - should either be "He lived his entire life" or "It lived its entire life"

  12. I really liked the title of this story, so I decided to comment on it for this week. First off, when I glanced over the story it became a bit daunting. It could use some more defined spaces between the paragraphs to make it flow better. But the theme makes the font easy to read, so that is nice.

    At the start of the second paragraph, I believe the sentence would flow better with a comma before the word “but”. A comma would also work after “They sang each day”.

    Conversely, there doesn’t need to be a comma before “and” in the next paragraph. (I am bad with that one as well).

    The sentence “He lived its entire life” is awkward, specifically the word “its”.

    Other than that, good job. Your author’s note also looked good and I like the explanations in it. I enjoyed your story and how you expanded on the life of such a small character.

  13. What an excellent idea for a story! I never would have thought to ask what the fate of that songbird was. I really enjoyed this story and did not find a lot of errors. I would have like to know, though, why the one egg was different from the others, was it just pure chance? Was it because of something she had done? Was it perhaps something that the unhatched bird had done in a previous life? It was a good story and I did like it, but it seems there should have been more detail about after the bird's death that connects it more to what went on in the actual book. It teaches a good lesson, but there was no actual details from the book other than that the bird got shot. Perhaps if after the bird's death you'd gone on to say what happened to the hunter?

  14. Gloria,
    Firstly, I loved your idea of taking such a small part from the Ramayana and developing a beautiful story on it. You did a phenomenal job tying karma into the story. I only noticed one grammatical error. In the fifth paragraph, I think you meant to write “The mother FLEW off to get food…”Other than that; there were not any other spelling/grammar errors that I notice. The storyline flows very smoothly.
    You did good job at incorporating details in the story to create a strong imagery. I could imagine the beautiful multicolored bird throughout the story.
    One thing that also could have some relevance – Valmiki spitting out first poem ever at the death of a SONGbird. Great job, Gloria! I can't wait to read more of your stories.