How Happy the Bluebird and Bright-Wings the Cardinal Began
Their Virtue Adventures
The Professor’s Home Town—Paradise
Professor A.H.Tortoise sat in her office with her two young anthropology students—Happy the Bluebird and Bright-Wings the Cardinal. The two-hundred-year-old Tortoise was telling the two bird friends about the town she had grown up in:
“Yup,” she said, settling her legs and huge shell more comfortably on the Oriental rug intricately adorned with red, purple, and green embroidered flowers, birds, and trees, “The town of Paradise where I grew up as a little tike really was a paradise.” Happy and Bright-Wings sat on two tiny wooden stools across from their esteemed professor—heads cocked, listening.
“What do you mean?” chirped Happy.
“See that plaque on the wall?” The Professor nodded her head to their right towards a highly polished object into which words and floral motifs were intricately carved. “It was my great great grandparents’ treasure--made entirely of silver cedar wood.”
“Let me see what’s written on it,” Bright-Wings said as he flew closer, followed by Happy, who echoed,
“Me, too.” The Cardinal and Bluebird began reading the words that had been lovingly carved into the borders of the sacred wood:
“Compassion,” “Wisdom,” “Love of God” ….
“That’s right!” broke in their favorite Professor in her solemn voice, with one long blink. “Do you know what those words are speaking about?” she asked, looking at her feathered students. Happy and Bright-Wings looked quizzically at each other, then at their teacher. Adeline H. Tortoise chuckled softly. “Nine years at the University of Animalia, and they have neglected to teach the most important values—the Virtues!” Slowly she shook her pointed head.
An Independent Study Project
“You know,” the ancient Tortoise mused, “when I was growing up in Paradise, we learned about the Virtues in pre-school and kindergarten. We even received a gold star each time we used a Virtue to help others in the community. That way, everyone was always eager to be Kind, Compassionate, and Generous, not to mention Tolerant and Open-Minded. We received two gold stars if we Loved God in our hearts (which required the Virtue of Truthfulness to speak about).We all knew that if we didn’t love the Creator who created us from Divine Love, we wouldn’t have room in our hearts for the rest of the Virtues.”
“I bet your star collection was really large, as you are a really nice Professor,” her Bluebird student chirped with admiration.
“Why, thank you, Happy,” her teacher said modestly.
“Is Paradise still like that—a place where Virtues are practiced?” Bright-Wings asked eagerly. “I’d like to experience that.”
“I’m not sure, Bright-Wings,” the Professor replied. “I haven’t been there for a century or so, being obviously rather slow and sedentary in my physical habits.”
“Perhaps Bright-Wings and I could check up on it for you…” Happy piped up.
“Great idea,” Bright Wings added. “We could do an independent study project: “The Sociological Effects of Divine Virtues on a Town called Paradise.”
“What a wonderful idea! I could give you both the names of a few friends who used to live there---although, on second thought, they are probably all passed over to the other side by now, since tortoises like me generally live so much longer than most animals,” the Professor said thoughtfully. “Still, it’s a doable trip for you two with your wings and little, light bodies. You could make it there in just over an hour of steady flying. It’d be great to know how Paradise is doing…” the Ancient Tortoise mused.
“All right, then. I’m willing to go for it!” announced Bright-Wings, standing up red and tall on his stool.
“Count me in, too. We’ll get ready this afternoon,” said Happy, fluffing her blue wings. “We’ll bring our backpacks full of bird-seed sandwiches and canteens of water.” The Professor nodded encouragingly at both birds,
“Very good, meet me here at the office tomorrow morning when the sun rises just above that big pine tree outside my window. I’ll give you directions.” Happy and Bright-Wings nodded in agreement as the Professor reached up with one heavy claw to open the window. The two students quickly flew outside, heading for each of their nests nearby.
What an adventure they will have, the ancient Tortoise thought as she headed out to her favorite white quartz rock where she often sun-bathed in late afternoon. But even she had little inkling of what would await the intrepid members of the Bird Kingdom.