THE STORY OF ELLEN
by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Ellen was a sparrow who lived alone with her mother in=
anest in a tall pinetree in the middle of a great forest...
---Where's her daddy?
Her daddy is ... on assignment. For CNN. She was a hatchling,abou= t your age in bird years.
---I thought she was a sparrow. She is. H= atchling means a very young bird, one that has just hatchedfrom an egg.
-= --Bobo, be quiet. Papa is telling me a story.
---About what? ---About = a bird. She was a sparrow until somebody hatched her with a[sic] egg. The= n she was a hatchet.
A hatchling. ---Right. Then what? One day= Ellen's mother said, You stay here and be good and I'll beright back. I'm= going to get something to eat.
---Marshmallows? Probably not. Prob= ably worms.
---Yech! Bobo: That's what Osama McLaden eats--worms! =
That's Osama bin Laden. He only looks Scottish. Anyway, = Ellen'smother...
---What was her name? Mrs. Sparrow. Her brother, = John, was the Warden of All Souls atOxford.
---He didn't eat worms, did h= e?
No, he ate marshmallows. In fact, he was a marshmallow, whe= n you gotto know him.
---Did he toast them? There is no telling what= he did with them in the privacy of his ownrooms. Of course, one doesn't b= elieve everything one hears, especiallyin academic circles. Now, about Ell= en's mother, I have to tell you somebad news. She never made it back with = the worm. In fact, she never evengot as far as the aisle with fresh worms,= because she was killed inmidair by a hawk.
---What's a hawk? A hawk= is a raptor, a bird of prey, that kills smaller birds and evensmall rodent= s, such as mice and voles.
---I like raisin rolls! That's mice ...= never mind. So Ellen waited and waited for hermother to come back. But t= he sun went down, and she never came back. Ellen was very sad. She began t= o cry.
Higher up in the pinetree there lived another bird, Joe, a dove= . Heheard Ellen crying and flew down to see what was the matter. When h= eheard that her mother had left and not come back, well, he knew immediatel= y what had probably happened.
He had once been threatened by a hawk hi= mself, but doves, owing totheir Special Relationship, seldom suffer much ha= rm. The hawk was zappedby a freak -- well, not all that freak -- bolt of l= ightning ... and ...
---Papa? Yes? ---What about Ellen. Did she l= ike Joe?
Sort of. But you have to remember that Joe was a full-grown = dove andEllen was a hatch... a very young sparrow. She could not even fly.=
---I can fly! No, you can't. ---Watch! Emma! Don't do that!= You'll break your neck!
---No I won't! Do you want to hear the sto= ry of Ellen or not?
---Can there be marshmallows? Okay. Come back h= ere on the sofa and I'll do marshmallows. So, Joe,the dove, said to Ellen,= Would you like some marshmallows? And Ellensaid, Actually, I can't stand = marshmallows, but if you have any nicefresh wiggly squirmy twisty nasty wo= rms...
---Papa! Watch me fly!
Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, write= r, and Professor Emeritus ofComparative Literature at Princeton University.=