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 Short Stories for Children of All Ages: The FeatherPedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading”


The Feather


Near her home by the river under a tree Paula found a feather.

“Is this your feather?” she asked a swan.

“No,” hissed the swan. “My feathers are snow white. Here’s one of mine. Look through it and you will see the snow-capped mountains of the north and pale, ice-cold skies.”

The swan swept away.

Paula put the white feather in her bag.


Further down the bank a moorhen looked after her babies.

“Whose feather is this?” Paula called out to her.

“I don’t know,” cackled the moorhen. “Have one of my glossy black feathers. Look through it and spy the night sky holding the moon and millions of stars above the world.”

The moorhen paddled away. Paula put the black feather in her bag.


A shy kingfisher peeked out of his hole in the bank.

“Is this your feather?” Paula asked.

“No… My best feathers are sapphire blue. Look through one of mine and see children playing on beaches, palm trees waving to the skies and divers in the deep.”

Paula put the blue feather in her bag.


Along the rugged path by the grassy bank a wagtail hopped into view.

“Can you tell me whose feather this is?”

“No,” said the wagtail. “My feathers are a sunny yellow. Look through this one to see a lumpy, bumpy, sometimes grumpy camel caravan.”

The wagtail wagged its tail and sped off.

Paula put the yellow feather in her bag.


“Could this feather be yours?” said Paula, as a pheasant hopped briskly by.

“No,” squawked the pheasant. “My feathers are copper brown and beautiful. Take one of mine if you like. See a farm with a tractor ploughing furrows in the fields for food for us to eat.”

Paula stuffed the brown feather into her bag and the pheasant flew away.


Then a peacock came strutting along.

“Is this feather yours?” asked Paula.

“Of coursenot!” screeched the peacock. “My feathers gleam with all the colours of therainbow. Take a look through the eye and see sunken treasure in all shimmering beauty.”

The peacock strutted away.

Paula put the long, colourful feather in her bag.


Slowly, an enormous seagull flew down onto the bank.

“Is this your feather?” asked Paula.

“Yes,” squawked the seagull. “My feathers are grey like the mist at the down of time, before there were colours in the world… Keep it to remind you of that grey time, long, long ago.”

The seagull soared into the air.


Paula put the feathers in a row.

“I know just what I shall do,” she thought. I shall threadthem into my hat… Then, when I wear it, I will see all the colours that brighten up our world!”


Dot Cleeve; Kim Harley

The feather

Northwood, Tamarind, 2003

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