The Adventure of Elvin the Elf Owl
Donald J. Beaulieu©2007
Elvin was scared. You see Elvin was just a little elf owl; only five inches tall. He was not a baby, but he was very young. Elvin, like all young owls, was very curious – too curious this time, because he was lost. His mother and father had always told him not to go too far from their cactus home. They also warned him to be really careful of Old Grey. Old Grey was a peregrine falcon who had hunted this area for many years. He could drop silently from the sky like a bolt of lightning and catch an elf owl in the blink of an eye. Elvin’s thoughts of Old Grey gave him goose bumps. The small owl sure wished he had listened to his parents. He had been so sure of himself. Elvin had learned to fly well; he could even reach the tops of the greatest flagpole. This spring he had even caught a frog; for an elf owl that was a real victory. Most elf owls, even adults, catch only insects. So, to catch a frog was a big deal. However, Elvin had gotten too sure of himself and did a foolish thing. He had forgotten the wise words of his mom and dad and, while hunting, had strayed too far from home. Now, Elvin was lost and resting in a strange tree.
It was getting dark and in the distance a wolf was howling. Elvin’s sharp hearing also picked up the piercing whistle of a train and the roar of airplane. The little owl began to tremble and feel cold. The frightened owl tightened his grip on the tree limb and wished…. Elvin wished that he was home – safe in his desert cactus. He had closed his eyes tightly when the noises started, but now he wanted to see what was happening. Elvin could not see any of the things he had just heard, but what he did see was worse. To the north, big billowing dark clouds were coming towards him, or maybe it was the dust cloud of the great ghost horse.
A blinding bolt of lightning shot across the sky. Its piercing thunder cut through the silence like a blaring trumpet. The little owl was really scared, alone and afraid that he was going to die. He took a deep breath, beat his wings, and darted into the air westward. The sun was slipping away behind the hills to let the night come. That is how he knew in which direction to fly – but that was all. If the miniature owl were lucky, it would be enough to get him home. The prayer his mother had taught him would also be helpful. Yes, he was sure of that.
Elvin sure hoped that storm was only a noisy one. Should it get windy or rainy he would have to stop to find shelter – it would be a must. The little owl sure did not want to do that. Elvin knew that once the storm passed he could become a tasty snack for any of the hawks or falcons in the area. For now, though, the storm was his only danger.
An hour had passed and he was very tired. The young bird was not use to flying for such a long time without stopping, especially in such bad wind and weather. He should be home soon, he thought to himself. Since owl ears hear so well, he begins to listen for sounds of home. He wished he would hear some of his friends as they hunted the in night. Better yet, Elvin hoped he would hear his mother or father calling out.
Then, from below he thought he heard his friend, Mouth, who was a nightjar bird. The excited little owl decided to circle the area and get a better look. In that same instant Elvin’s body was filled with a sharp, gripping pain. A falcon had hit him from above. Like a lightning bolt the falcon had shot down out of the sky without warning. As the tiny owl fell, head over tail from the sky, he heard a sharp shrill from above. Elvin knew he was home, because the sharp shrill belong to Old Grey.
Soon Elvin realized that he was not badly hurt and that he could still fly. The Great Spirit Bird of heaven must have stretched out its great wings and protected the little owl from Old Grey’s talons. Elvin’s parents and Mouth had seen the attack and were on their way to help. The sudden appearance of these birds must have discouraged Old Grey for he disappeared as silently as he had come. Elvin said a prayer of thanks and flew off to meet his parents and his friend, Mouth. They were all very happy to find that Elvin was not badly hurt. It had been an awful day for the young owl. It felt good to be tucked safely into his bed. He had learned a valuable lesson, the hard way -- to listen to his mom and dad and not to be so foolish.
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