We had a pet budgie, that belonged to my brother John. It flew free in the house and we all loved it. But it took sick. John snuggled it into a shoebox with some chook feathers and we put it near the coal range to keep warm. But that night it died.
I had this book about taxidermy, so Mum and I decided to give John the gift of his Bobby to be near him forever.
Ahem. It didn't work. The skinning went OK, and the curing of alum, that was way too brief. We took its brains out with a teaspoon. It was awful.
We stuffed its little body with cotton wool and sewed it up.
Now, when we took the skin off, the incisions were across the chest and down the middle to the vent. But we sewed it up straight down the middle. Result, one long bird.
So. Quick unpick. Restuffed with sawdust.
But. The feather shafts, sticking though the skin, got disrupted. They went all scruffy, thither and yon, this way and that.
Mum suggested giving the neighbour's cat a fright. We had to laugh, being kind to each other and ourselves. It was a nightmare.
We tried to set it in the fridge, but the next morning the legs were straight out behind it and it was just as we'd left it.
We popped it back in the shoebox before John got up, and when he did, he came straight out and said, " How's Bobby?"
Mum said, " I'm sorry son, but he's dead."
"No he's not! He's NOT!" cried John, rushing to the shoebox, where he dropped to his knees, hunched over, gentle hands down to the box.
We held our breath, waiting for my brother's reaction. At last he said,
" Oh boy, he SURE IS!"
a child kneels
by this cross of sticks