Merinda's Page


Dear Diary,

I have been busy with my iPod...

The Tale Of Tui and Magpie

A short story in the style of Kipling's "Just So" stories

by Merinda S Scott, age 11.34

Back when the world was new, O dear one, and humans did not live in New Zealand or Australia yet, Tui and Magpie both had very beautiful voices. It is true today that Tui's voice is still charming, but back when the world was new, O dear one, It was unbeleivably fabulous. It was full of different notes, (still as it is today) but each note was very long, going from deep and low to shrill and high, and there were long silent spaces between notes. But O dear one, I can not describe it as it was, so you shall have to imagine. Magpie's voice was, back then, very different. Quite the opposite as it is now. It was long and shrill, and sweet and jingled like bells. One day, when Tui was in an especially good mood and he was feeling especially proud of his voice, he was sing loudly and, by chance for the very first time, Magpie heard his voice from across the waters. Magpie, being quite a selfish and spiteful bird was angered to hear a bird with a voice as fine as his. He followed Tui's voice across the Pacific Ocean all the way to New Zealand where he found Tui. Magpie trilled his voice and preened. Tui, being a competitive and proud bird, warbled a long stretching note. Magpie took his voice higher. Tui sung two notes that were a little shorter. It went on. Magpie stretched, higher and higher, Tui changed notes faster and faster, Until Magpie was almost screaming and it sounded close to jingling bells and scraping metal, and Tui's notes had no tranquil beauty - just speedy ups and downs with no orderly pitch. And Magpie's voice cracked. He went so high it was unbeleivable and it was to much for him, so you must understand, O dear one, that he broke into a hideous shriek. Tui sped so fast through his notes. The noise of the two could be heard all through the forest of New Zealand. The great Maori Spirit of the forests, Tane, who was also father of all birds and wildlife, was disturbed. He came to find the noise. Magpie heard him coming and was so frightened he flew away, heading for his Australia. Tane saw him though and turned on Tui. "Tui, o my son of my forest, how dare you bring an Australian bird into our peaceful forests! And how dare you misuse your beautiful voice so that it is like this?" he said. Tui desperately tried to slow his voice, and make it sound composed. He manage to stop his flitty warbling and gasp. "Tane, O great spirit of my home forest and father of my brothers and sisters, I can explain. I mean... I was simply singing loudly..." spluttered Tui. "Ah," said Tane. "You were boasting your voice quite louldly." Tui look ashamed, and dropped his eyes. "O please great Tane help me fix my voice!" he said pathetically. Great Tane looked down on him and said "Tui you have boasted your voice, and lead an unwelcome bird into our home, and challenged him. You have brought this upon yourself. I shall not five you your voice back. No, instead as pumisment for bragging and leading him here, I shall keep your song like that forever." and so what Tane said was heard, and it is like this today. Meanwhile, Magpie flew home as fast as he could. When he reached the homeland he collapsed. He tried his voice again, but it came out as an ugly squawk. So he went to look for the Rainbow Serpent, the great aboriginal spirit, who, in the form of a snake, carved the very land of Australia, and made mountains and gorges with his huge body. When Magpie found him he was sleeping, as most spirits do. Rainbow Serpent heard him and opened an eye. "Who, in the name of the deadly Minka bird, and I who carved the land, disturbs my slumber?" he asked. "'Tis I, Magpie, to ask a favour. My beautiful voice is ruined! It is a screeching squawk! It is all Tui's fault -" he stopped. The Rainbow Serpent's eyes both opened wide. "Tui's fault? Do tell," he said slyly. Magpie, who just wanted his song back, sighed and said "I heard him and flew to New Zealand. Where I showed him my voice." Rainbow Serpent understood. He said disaprovingly "so you were jealous of a bird with a voice as fine as yours, so you deliberately left the country, as you are certainly not to," he added sternly "and you boasted and showed off your voice so much that it is like this?" Magpie hung his head. "it is your fault your voice is ruined, o spiteful Magpie. You disobeyed and so I shall not give you your song back. Be gone." said Rainbow Serpent, and he closed his eyes for sleep. And so it is today that Magpie and Tui's voices are the same. It is true, o dear one, that Tui came out the better of the two, but he was certainly less spiteful.

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