Excerpt for The Three Hummingbirds by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Three Hummingbirds

Trevor Elder

Smashwords Editon

Copyright 2017 by Trevor Elder

Chapter 1.

There was a summer not long ago that seemed to go on forever. The animals became much fatter than usual, and because they did not have to go south for the winter, the birds were contemplating an adventure to the north. Three young hummingbirds in particular were at the forefront of the proposed movement. In the middle of a giant rose bush the size of a human house the three little birds discussed their plans.

Have a look, see how I bend this branch,

the great pokey tree bows to me,

from now on I shall be named The Flying King of France.”

Nay, I lay my own claim to the title,

for my feathers are like the reddest robe,

and your weight is but a trifle.”

I care not for the France,” said the third hummingbird, “I will go where none have gone before, to the very end of the world.”

As will I,” said the first.

As will I,” said the second.

Follow me,” said the third, and with his wing he beckoned.

They flew out of the rose bush and the leader took them to a little red bird feeder on an old woman’s porch.

Hey you, did you forget your way?

You’ve led us where we’ve been before,

Now what have you got to say?”

Where we go there might be snow,

and nectar might be sparse,

prepare your tummy for the journey,

and then we will depart.”

The other two did not complain further and ate and drank. When the first had had his fill he flew straight up into the sky, to find the best route to take. As he was watching, he noticed the house cat creeping and he flew down to warn his brothers.

Look, here comes the cat for a pounce,

let us taunt him one last time,

before we leave for our crowns.”

Hello, cat, we can see you down there,

you cannot get us while we watch you,

now slink back to your lair.”

The cat stopped and licked its lips.

I didn’t quite hear you,

can you come a little closer?

Don’t worry about my claws,

my reflexes have gotten slower.”

No, we’ll be getting much farther,

to the end of the world in fact,

so to catch us will be harder.”

The cat then leaped at them and they easily evaded him. They laughed at the silly cat, then flew off northward. It didn’t take them long until they reached the little red fence that their mother had told them never to cross. They had been good little hummingbirds and had listened to her when they were children, but now they were all grown up.

Look where we are,

it’s the scary red fence,

beyond lie evil monsters,

those beasts without sense!”

Aye aye, let’s be cautious,

lest we be eaten by cannibals.”

The thought makes me nauseous,

only nectar should be eaten by animals!”

Yes, let’s go up, and look it all over,

we’ll fly in a V, so stay near to my shoulders.”

They went high up into the clouds, flying in a little V formation, and they caught a nice breeze and coasted on it and were having so much fun that they relaxed from their formation and ignored their surroundings and did little tricks and laughed at each other.

Look at me, I can fly without flapping,

if you look really close,

you can see that I’m napping.”

That’s very nice,

with your eyes closed and all,

but watch how I spin,

like a top or a ball.”

Very good you two,

but see my new speed,

look away and I’ll be gone,

right out of the galaxy.”

With all of the tricks they were doing and all the energy they were using, they soon became hungry, and they stopped doing tricks and started looking for a place to land. It was very lucky timing for them, for a hawk came upon them out of a cloud and tried to snatch them up, but they saw him at the last moment and flew straight down into the forest.

Where have you gone little morsels,

do you even know what that means?

You look like a fancy delicacy,

now come out from the leaves.”

The little hummingbirds did not answer the hawk, and were as quiet and still as statues. They could hear his wings and his voice, and now they knew what a cannibal really was.

How did you get into my sky,

you little flying mice?

You’ve gotten away once,

but you won’t get lucky twice.”

The hawk then looked for a few minutes more, then gave up and flew away, thinking that they must have flown somewhere else under the cover of the trees and leaves, although they were really right beneath him, in a dense shrub.

I think we can go now,

but better not up,

we must stay out of sight,

so on us he won’t sup.”

I agree but I’m hungry,

let’s look out for some flowers,

we’ll encounter other evil somethings,

so we need our wings at full power.”

They darted off and weaved around the trees and bushes and varied their heights and found a nice patch of pink and yellow flowers.

Now, this, this is the best I’ve ever tasted,

I want to sit here and eat forever,

must we really go, must we really hasten?”

There will be better at the end,

and no cannibals to chase us,

have you forgotten him already?

Keep one of your eyes on the up!”

At this remark the fist hummingbird looked up, and to his fright and surprise, saw a cougar at the top of a tree nearby. The cougar was looking at them intently.

You are right, we should leave at once,

there’s a cat in that tree,

and he looks bigger than a bus.”

The other two turned to look, but they were in such awe that they didn’t want to fly away until they had to. The cougar saw them looking, and climbed down. He was careful not to get too close at first, because he didn’t want to scare them off, and he tried to act friendly.

Hello, my little friends,

I didn’t scare you did I,

If I did, well,

I’d like to make amends.”

No, you didn’t scare me,

I’m the flying King of France,

but who are you and how did you get so big, are you a cannibal cat by chance?”

No, I’m a cougar,

what do they call you?

You’re tiny and your wings beat so fast,

you’re something quite new.”

We’re hummingbirds,

and we’re going to the end of the world.”

The end of the world?

Well I was just there myself,

If you follow me I can take you,

You’ll be in the best of health.”

No thank you,

you’re much too slow,

and we don’t trust cats,

so we really must go.”

I don’t think so,

you really must stay,

we’ll eat flowers together,

and play play play.”

The big cat had slowly crept closer and the hummingbirds could see that his face was angry even though his words were nice.

He’s going to pounce, go!”

They flew away from him and he chased. He was very fast, faster than the house cat, but they flew too high to be caught, and they didn’t stop until they came upon a little log cabin, with a little red bird feeder like the one at the old woman’s house. They stopped and perched on the roof, to be safe and check out their new surroundings.

This is a very dangerous forest,

and of all the days, today my wings are sorest.”

Good thing we’ve found a house and a feeder, you two go on the lookout,

I eat first since I’m the leader.”

The other two were too tired to argue and besides they didn’t want turn their back and be eaten by something.

Okay you two, it’s all nice and fresh,

but I had a look through the window,

and I’ve never seen a bigger mess.”

Alright, if I must,

but don’t fall asleep,

if a cannibal or a cat comes,

make sure to cheep.”

They took turns and nothing attacked them. When they had rejoined the leader on the roof, it was dark and they were sleepy.

It’s dark now and we need somewhere to hide, we haven’t a nest or a place to sleep, shall we venture inside?”

I would very much like it,

but we must be very quiet,

let’s look around for a house cat,

and if none, I say we try it.”

The birds flew around to the door and windows, but they were all shut and they went back to the roof.

We’ll have to wait for the human,

or find a hollow in a tree,

but if somebody never comes,

it will be too dark to see.”

I don’t want to wait,

let’s go down the chimney,

if we make haste,

we’ll be in rather simply.”

It’s worth a try,

but I think you should go first,

I’d rather not be burned,

or something even worse.”

Very well,

I’ll be cautious and careful,

I’ll be first to the nectar,

wish me luck and farewell!”

And with that the little bird flew down the chimney. He stopped and listened about three quarters of the way down, and hearing nothing, entered the room.


What do you see down there?

Is there nectar and juice,

or a cat’s scary lair?”

The hummingbird in the house could not clearly understand his brother who was calling down to him from the roof, but he

did hear snoring. The room was dark and messy, and he could not quite tell where the snorer was, so he flew up onto the ceiling beam to get a better view. After closer inspection, the noise was coming from under the bed, and the bird could

see a man’s hand on the floor.

The other two birds then came flying in.

Are you there?

Are you dead?

We’re here to save you from the cat,

I see something under the bed.”

I’m up here, on the ceiling,

there’s a man sleeping there,

be quiet or we’ll be fleeing.”

The two newcomers joined their brother on the beam and began whispering to each other.

What should we do,

should we wake him up?”

No, let the sleeping human lie,

but let’s look for a cup.”

A cup? But we only just ate!

Let’s look for a place to sleep,

Don’t be a greedy ingrate!”

They didn’t argue further and found a big stocking cap on the table that they tucked themselves into.

Chapter 2.

A little bit later, while the hummingbirds were still asleep, the man woke up. He lit a fire and ate some bread with jam, and since he was happy from the food and the fire, he began to talk and sing to himself.

Berry pie is very sweet,

it’s my berry favorite thing to eat,

besides a slowly roasted meat,

but I have none.”

Berry pie makes me merry, why?

Because it’s juicy and delicious.

Meat runs away but berries stay, why?

Because its thorns are vicious.”

But I have bread and berry jam,

I made it myself from this very land,

but it will all soon turn to sand,

and my berries will be gone.”

The hummingbirds heard the last verse and whispered to themselves.

Should we say hello?

I’d like to know what he knows of snow.”

I’d like to know what he knows of sand,

and what he knows about the land.”

I agree, let’s take a peek,

we’ll poke our beaks out,

and then we’ll speak.”

The hummingbirds then put their beaks under the edge of the hat and slowly popped their heads out. The man was in a rocking chair near the fire, and his back was to them.

Hello, human man,

we thank thee for the drink,

we’ve been sleeping in your hat,

and we’d like to know what you think.”

The man jumped up and looked around the room wildly. The birds shed the rest of the hat so they could fly away if need be, and the man saw them.

Oh, it’s just some hummingbirds,

How did you get in here?

What were your words?”

We came in through the chimney,

and you were sleeping on the floor,

we thanked thee for the nectar outside,

and we wonder if there’s more.”

Have you drank it all?

You’re oh so small,

and the sugar is for my pie.”

Don’t mind my greedy brother,

there’s plenty more outside,

save your sugar for the pie,

we’re just happy to be alive.”

Yes, we were attacked!

First a cannibal and then a cat,

then to your roof we came and sat.”

The man moved back to his rocking chair.

Come over here and sit by the fire,

unless you’re too dry to be getting drier.”

The hummingbirds flew over to the fireplace and tested the heat, then sat atop the mantle.

We’re going to the end of the world.”

Have you been there before?”

Is it curled and swirled?”

I’m not sure there is an end,

and I’ve gone past all the other men.

As far as I know, there’s just some snow,

my little flying friends.”

We’ve never been this far before,

when the cold winds blow,

to the south we soar.”

But this year it’s been very nice,

so much sun, so little ice,

so much so, that with chances thrice,

to the end of the world we go,

whatever the price!”

The man smiled.

You are bold little birdies,

I wish you the best of luck,

but the weather has been strange,

instead of snow there’s muck.”

We agree, it’s something new,

Do you know what’s happening,

or are you clueless too?”

I don’t know,” said the man.

The sun had risen while they had talked and the hummingbirds were hungry again.

The sun is up,

we should take our leave.

Will you open the door?

Thank you and please.”

My pleasure,

and I hope you make it to the end,

and find a golden treasure.”

The man rose from his chair and went to the door and opened it, and the birds flew to the feeder and thanked him before drinking. The man then nodded and went back inside.

That was a very nice fellow.”

On our way back we’ll say hello.”

That’s enough talk, let’s go.”

They flew north, and were careful not to rise above the treeline, so that the hawk could not see them, and they remembered the cougar in the tree, so they did not fly close to any branches or places they could not clearly see.

After an hour or so, they came upon a little glade that was filled with flowers they had never seen before. They were big and purple, and when the hummingbirds went up to them, they could see that they were full of nectar, and the hummingbirds feasted.

The north, the north,

it’s a place of magic,

just evade the cannibals,

and it won’t be tragic.”

With all of these flowers,

we won’t even need to fly,

we can walk to and fro,

and stay out of the sky.”

You two need to calm yourselves,

have you forgotten the end of the world,

the place of kings and gold and elves?”

They feasted a little more, and two of them took a nap while the third kept watch for hawks and cats. After a while, someone from underneath the flowers spoke.

My tongue smells something sweet,

something succulent like tender meat.”

The hummingbird was afraid to say anything or move, because it sounded just like a snake, and it was a snake that had eaten their mother.

Something succulent

something sweet,

tender, juicy,

little feet.”

The hummingbird could hear the snake slithering closer toward them, and decided to play a trick and divert its attention away from his sleeping brothers. He did not want to wake them, because then the snake would know where they were and they might not wake up fast enough to get away. So the hummingbird flew over top of the snake to the opposite side of the glade, and called out to him.

Who is out there,

You who whispers?

Is that a field mouse,

speak up past your whiskers.”

The trick worked and the snake slithered toward him and rustled the flowers.

Yes, I’m just a little mouse,

on my way to my little house.”

The snake moved closer, and the bird moved farther.

You must be very small,

for I can’t see you through the leaves.

Stand up and make yourself tall,

and come out from behind the weeds.”

The snake moved closer.

Yes I am small, can you see me now?

Why don’t you come down to meet me,

and I’ll be polite and bow.”

Of course, the hummingbird was not stupid and did not go down. Instead, he did the opposite and went up, so that the snake couldn’t reach him, even with a jump.

I see you now, you slimy snake,

you lied about everything,

you’re a low-life fake!”

The snake became angry and stood up and put his head in the air.

And I see you,

and I’ll eat you,

come here!”

The snake struck at the hummingbird, but the bird was too far away. In all the commotion the hummingbird’s brothers woke up and flew into the sky.

What are you doing?

Did someone yell snake?”

I’m not going back down there,

let’s go find a lake!”

The three hummingbirds then joined back up and journeyed north again. They did not find a lake, but they did find a castle. They flew onto its wall and looked around the grounds.

This is very impressive,

fit for a king indeed,

it’s so large and aggressive,

but much more than we need.”

But there isn’t a soul,

I don’t even hear voices,

It might be haunted,

let’s consider our choices.”

Go in, or go on,

it isn’t that hard,

let’s see if they have nectar,

or a jolly singing bard.”

This last hummingbird then flew into one of the towers and the other two followed. They flew down a spiral staircase, and into a dark hallway. There was a large wooden door at the end, but it was shut and they didn’t have a way in. They perched themselves atop a little ledge on the wall and discussed the situation.

I wonder what’s in there,

should we wait for someone to come out?”

What if there’s nobody in there,

should I give a little shout?”

No, I think we should go around,

or over the top, or maybe underground.”

Lead the way then.”

They went back down the hallway and up the staircase. Then they flew over the castle and above the hallway, and when they went past the door they looked down and saw a huge circular room, without a roof. They circled and fluttered, but did not go down.

Do you see what I’m seeing?”

I see a million bones,

but who has done the reaping?”

I think we should get far away,

before it catches us sleeping.”

The hummingbirds flew away, and only stopped again several hours later when they came upon a meadow of bright red flowers. This time they were a little hesitant, and flew over it first to check for snakes. They found a nice spot that was clear in all directions, and just a few minutes later they were feasting again and had mostly forgotten their worries.

I’ve changed my mind,

red is still my favorite color,

it was purple for those flowers we ate,

but now I shall have no other.”

Red is my favorite color too.”

And mine.”

When they were full they flew up into a nearby tree and tucked themselves into some densely packed leaves for a nap. They dreamed happy dreams and slept for a long time. When they awoke, it was dark.

Now what do we do?”

We wait for the moon.”

I hope it wakes up soon.”

They did not want to make too much noise, so they stayed in place and watched for predators while waiting for a little light. And a little light did come, but not from the moon.

Do you see that?”

Yes, the star?”

It’s too low and close, stars are far.”

The little light started to travel toward them, and the hummingbirds became nervous and squeezed back into the leaves. It came right up to them, as if it knew they were there, and spoke.

Are there three of you?”

The voice was soft and calming, so the hummingbirds peeked out and saw that it was a bee.

It’s a bee.”

I can see.”

Me three.”

I am a bee now, but I used to be a fairy. I’m looking for three heroes to save the world. Do you think that’s you?”

We’re going to the end of the world.”

How can you go to the end of the world unless you save it?”

Save it from what?”

Save it from who?”

Why should we listen to you?”

The glowing bee laughed softly at them, like their mother used to.

Can’t you see my light?”

Yes, but it could just be the yellow,

reflecting off the night.”

And maybe I’ve lost sight.”

But maybe she’s right.”

Follow me to my fairy house,

and I’ll tell you three what it’s all about.”

The hummingbirds looked at each other and they decided to follow the bee. She took them into a tree, and they took many turns and ended up in a cozy little room full of colorful gems and stones.

I think she was right,

she really is a fairy.”

Yes, I can see that now.”

But what is going on? How?”

The glowing bee then began to explain what had happened to her.

At the end of the world there’s a fairy tree, where thousands are born, not just me. We make sure the seasons are balanced, so that everything lives and grows. There must always be a place to harvest, and there must always be a place to sow.”

We’re going to the end of the world.”

We’ll see the fairy tree.”

The story isn’t over, listen to the bee.”

The bee smiled and continued.

Everything was like it always is and the world was going great, but when all the new seasons came, they arrived just a little bit late. And then late became later, and the truth became plainer and plainer. One of my sisters suddenly became bigger, for she was stealing blood and stealing water, to become as big as a human she said, and the world became hotter and hotter.”

How big?”

Like a house?”

You should turn her into a louse!”

I confronted her, and she turned me into this bee. Now I’m mortal and cannot do magic, and have to hide inside the trees.”

There must be something to be done.”

We aren’t big enough to fight fairies.”

Especially giant evil ones.”

Well there must be something, the fairy tree told me heroes three would be worth trusting, and here you are. I can bee your guiding star.”

She smiled at her joke, but did not explain it, and the little hummingbirds did not notice the pun. They were thinking and were not sure if they should follow the strange fairy bee.

I think we should do it.”

The bad fairy might turn us into a louse.”

She’ll do it regardless, I’m in.”

Okay fairy bee, now what’s the plan?”

The bee was happy and flew up a little bit so that they were at eye level.

We’ll have to go north, and find her of course, and then we’ll have to see. We need three drops of blood, and maybe some mud, and no longer a bee I’ll be.”

Then she’ll turn the bad fairy into a louse.”

And lock her up in a little house.”

A house too small to fit a mouse.”

Maybe,” said the bee, and she went over to the colorful jewels that were in piles near the walls.

Have a bite or a sip of my magical fairy nip, and you won’t get hungry for a week. Then we’ll all get some sleep, and at the sun’s first peep, we’ll take off for the fairy tree.”

The bee then started eating a bright orange jewel, and the hummingbirds were confused because they thought that all jewels were hard like rocks, but they poked their beaks into a red one and it was soft and sweet. It was the most delicious thing they had ever tasted, and when they were done they went right to sleep on the floor next to their dinner.

Chapter 3.

In the morning they ate some more of the magical jewels and followed the bee north. Just as the bee had said, they did not get hungry and flew fast and far and didn’t stop until they came to a very dark part of the forest that was very wet.

Is this the end of the world?”

Where’s the bad fairy?”

I don’t want to go in there, it’s scary.”

We’re not quite to the end of the world my dears, this is a magical swamp, and it’s made up of tears. Stay close and quiet, and watch all your sides, and if it gets a little too dangerous we’ll find a little place to hide.”


You lead the way.”

Whatever you say.”

They followed the bee from tree to tree and didn’t stop until they came to the edge of a lake.

Did the water drown the trees?”

Or is it just a lake?”

Which way are we going now, which route should we take?”

The fairy bee flew up high to get a better look of everything, then flew back down to the hummingbirds.

I think we’ll go around, to stay safe and sound, and we’ll go to the right to stay out of sight, and then we’ll see what we see.”

They flew around to the right until they came upon a wall of brambles.

This wasn’t here before. It’s a good thing we can fly, because I don’t see a door.”

Then a toad jumped down from the brambles onto a large lily pad and the splash almost hit the hummingbirds and the bee where they were hovering.

Beyond lies the Queendom of Witch. Who are you? Those wings are the fastest I’ve ever seen twitch.”

We’re going to the end of the world.”

We’re going to fight the bad fairy too.”

We’re hummingbirds, what are you?”

The toad burped.

My father was a toad and my mother was a frog, so I’m one of a kind and my name is Bog.”

It’s nice to meet you Bog, have you been over the wall? We must be very careful because we’re very very small.”

Yes I’ve been over, well under more like it, but I’m not going back, and you shouldn’t try it.”

Why, why, why?” all three said at once.

Because the Queen has an army of the slimiest frogs and the toadiest toads. She has a personal guard of two fat snakes, and she rides on an alligator from lake to lake.”

We’re not stopping now.”

We must defeat her.”

So long, Bog! You’ve been a welcome greeter!”

The three hummingbirds and the fairy bee then flew up over the bramble wall and instantly saw the army. In front of them was the deepest swamp you could ever imagine, with the water more then halfway up giant trees. Covering the water must have been a million lily pads, and covering the lily pads were a million toads and frogs, croaking and jumping and being very loud. The four friends then flew into the branches of the nearest tree to take cover and watch.

What are we going to do now Mrs. Bee?”

The bee looked over the army.

Let me see, let me see, let me see,” said she.

We’ll fly over the trees until we find where she sleeps. Then you’ll peck at her skin while she naps, and take three drops of blood as they seep. Bring me the three drops and I’ll be a fairy again, and I’ll fight magic with magic and fight ‘til we win.”

They then flew up up and away, over the trees, keeping their eyes open for the queen and snakes and alligators. They had gone far and had seen nothing but the army when it became too dark to fly, so they found a nice bushy tree to sleep in.

The army is endless, I can still hear them croak.”

I wonder if they’re always mean or if they ever tell jokes.”

I don’t know about you two, but I think I smell smoke.”

Yes, I smell it too,” said the bee, but they could do nothing about it as there was nothing to see.

The smoke and the army and the tales of the evil fairy and her snakes and alligators filled their dreams and they could hardly sleep without waking up.

Are you two awake? I’m having nightmares. All I can think of is ‘gators and snake pairs.”

Me too, I hope this quest is done quick.”

Me three, and if we don’t get proper rest we’ll be getting proper sick.”

I’ll hum you a lullaby,” said the bee, and she hummed something they had never heard before and it put them right to sleep and they dreamed of fairy food and flowers.

In the morning they had a lot of energy and they started flying again immediately. Most of the toad and frog army was still asleep and so they did not have a problem until they found the queen’s castle.

It was not a normal castle made out of big stones with big towers and gates and walls. It was more like a tree house in the middle of a lake. There weren’t any trees close to it, probably because the queen used them to make the walls and floor and roof.

The hummingbirds and the bee sat atop a tree a little ways away and tried to come up with a plan.

I don’t see snakes or an alligator.”

They’re probably inside.”

Well then how did they get up there?”

She must’ve made them an elevator.”

The fairy bee laughed gently at the silly birds.

My sister Witch never lets anybody in her house, and it’s much too small for all four of them. She might not even be home.”

Your sister’s name is Witch?”

That’s a funny name.”

Which way did Witch go, is it spelled the same?”

No, it’s spelled W, i, t, c, h. Go check if she’s home and if she’s asleep or awake.”

(And now you know where witches come from and who they’re named after.)

The hummingbirds flew up high so that Witch would not see them through her windows, and then they dropped down gently on her roof, and listened.

They did not hear anything, so they peeked through the top of the window, and to their surprise, saw Witch sleeping on a bright red bed. They looked at each other and knew what they must do. However, all the windows and doors were shut.

One flew to the top of the chimney and the others instantly understood and followed him. Then they flew down the chimney and fluttered out right next to Witch, who was still sleeping on her red bed.

The hummingbirds were afraid, but they went over to her arm and poked it with their beaks. It did not bleed, and Witch woke up and angrily swatted at them. They flew right back out the chimney as fast as they could and went back to the fairy bee.

We tried to get the blood.”

But her skin wouldn’t burst.”

Then she woke up, and she looked worse than the worst.”

As the third hummingbird spoke, the evil fairy opened her door and flew out. It was very strange for the hummingbirds to see a human flying, but she wasn’t a human at all really.

We have to go now, before she gets us. Follow me and be quiet and hush.”

The bee led them away and they were as quiet as possible and as they fled they could hear the bad fairy scream in anger.

They did not go very far away at all, and instead the bee took them into a tree that turned out to be another fairy house.

Oh is this your other house?”

No it’s my sister’s.”

Well where is she?”

Does she still live here?”

No, she disappeared. I’m not sure if she’s a bee like me, or something just as weird.”

They were then silent for a moment as they calmed down and thought about what had happened and what they were going to do.

I guess we’ll have to try again.”

What are we going to do this time?”

And when?”

The bee took a few seconds to think.

Hmm, I think we’ll go when it’s dark so she’ll be sleeping deeper.”

The hummingbirds nodded.

But how will we get the blood?”

Our beaks aren’t sharp enough to do any good.”

We’ll get a sharp stick to poke her with.”

Yes, that’s a good plan,” said the bee.

They took a little nap and then went out looking for a stick. Since water was covering the ground and it was as deep as a lake, the sticks that fell off trees sank, and the hummingbirds could not swim underwater. This made it harder than usual to find things, so they had to try to break branches from the trees.

These sticks won’t come off, someone glued them on tight.”

Pull harder then, all at the same time.”

The branch they were working on would not break, so they rested and tried to think of a different way.

We could go back to the humans, and take a little pin.”

But that’s so far away, and we’ll have to make the journey all over again.”

Quite right, we need someone bigger to take a bite.”

I have an idea! Let’s pull out a tooth! We’ll take one from an alligator, or maybe a moose!”

We’ll have to get too close to a mouth and we’ll just be eaten.”

Well we have to do something, if we don’t we’ll be beaten.”

The bee had been listening to them calmly.

All we need is a pine tree and three sharp green needles,” she said.

I haven’t seen one of those since we came to this place.”

I think they’ve all been drowned in this overflowing lake.”

We just need to go a little further north, to the mountains,” said the bee, “When we get to where the swamp ends, we’ll find a forest that smells better than anything you’ve ever seen.”

The hummingbirds agreed and then took off immediately to the north. Unfortunately, they did not get far, as they saw the hawk from far away and had to hide in another tree to stay out of sight. They watched as the hawk came closer and closer, and they were afraid that he had seen them when he flew above their hiding place, but they saw that he kept going past them without looking back.

That was a close call.”

He didn’t even see us.”

Nope, not at all.”

Who didn’t see what?” asked a stranger from behind.

It was a bright green frog who was just their size. He was sitting on a tree branch and had very long feet that almost wrapped all the way around it.

The cannibal.”

How did you get up here?”

What do you want? Don’t come near!”

The frog smiled and stuck his tongue out a little.

The queen sent word of bad little birds, a brood, I think, of three. Now let me count, let’s have it out, it really must be thee.”

We should leave,” said the bee.

No, you can’t leave. You’re my prisoners now, and the queen will handsomely reward me.”

The frog then shot out his very long tongue and it wrapped around the beak of one of the hummingbirds. At first the other two flew away in fright, but when they saw that their brother was stuck, they flew back and pecked the frog’s tongue until the frog took his tongue back into his mouth and they escaped.

They flew as fast as they could, all the way north to the end of the swamp, and arrived in the pines just as the sun was setting. The fairy bee took them to a little fairy house in a tree, where one of her sisters was making hot apple cider.

Chapter 4.

“This is my sister Fauna, and these are the three heroes who are going to save the world,” said the bee to everybody.

The fairy, who was like a tiny little human but with big floppy feathery white wings, looked them over and didn’t seem very impressed.

“Here dears, have some magical cider. One drink will keep you warm for a week, even if in the snow you sleep.”

The hummingbirds put their beaks in the pot and were very happy to have the delicious drink. As they drank, the bee and her sister discussed their plans.

“I’m glad to have found you, I thought everyone had gone.”

“Most did, but I thought giving up and running away was just wrong.”

“Yes, I agree, but now with my three, we’ll shrink her back to size and send back all the seas.”

“And what’s your plan for that? She’s a giant now, and you’re barely bigger than a gnat.”

“I just need three drops of blood from the mouth of my birds, and I’ll chant over and over the three magic words.”

“Three drops from who? Surely you don’t mean our Witch? I know what you’re up to, but can you get close enough for a pinch?”

“We’ve already tried, but their beaks couldn’t break through, so we came here for pine needles, you don’t have any, do you?”

“Oh yes, but I have something much better, I’ll give you three golden needles I use for mending my sweater.”

The fairy then went over to the kitchen and opened a drawer and pulled out the three golden needles.

“These are for you three, they’re made of gold. I hope you succeed and I’m glad you’re so bold.”

She put the needles down next to the door so they would remember them on the way out, and then the five of them ate and drank a little more and watched the fire and fell asleep.

The next morning the hummingbirds and the bee left with the golden needles. They flew right back into the heart of the swamp, and they found a tree to hide in that was close to the evil fairy’s house, and they waited there until it was dark.

“It’s a good thing you glow.”

“Now the way you can show.”

“I miss the brightness of snow.”

The fairy bee smiled and led them to the tree house, and just like before, they went way up into the sky, and then dropped gently down on Witch’s roof. The bee waited on the roof and with the needles held in their beaks, the hummingbirds flew down the chimney.

Instead of flying out into the room, they tiptoed in. They could hear Witch snoring, but there was something else there, breathing. A snake!

Luckily, the snake was asleep, and because they were afraid and wanted to leave as soon as possible, they flew up onto the bed and stuck the needles into a soft spot on the bad fairy’s leg.

The needles went in easily and she didn’t even notice. The hummingbirds pulled the needles out, and had just started to fly toward the chimney when Witch woke up and saw them. She said a very strange word, and a bolt of lightning narrowly missed them as they flew up the chimney.

As they left the chimney they remembered the bee and they dropped the needles down in front of her.

“She’s awake and chasing!”

“Do some magic quick!”

“My heart’s pounding and racing!”

“Fly away and distract her,” said the bee.

They heard the door of the tree house open and they flew away and yelled.

“There’s no one faster than us!”

“You’ll never catch up!”

“Your black magic is not enough!”

The evil fairy flew after them and shot lightning bolts in their general direction, but it was dark and she could not see them.

Meanwhile, on the roof, the bee lapped up the magical fairy blood and started to grow. She became a very big bee, then she turned into a hummingbird, and then she turned back into the fairy godmother she always had been. She was now just a little bit bigger than a hummingbird, and she had bright pink hair and a green dress. Her wings were once again made of soft white feathers.

The good fairy then flew after her evil sister and the three hummingbirds. It was hard for her to see, so she said some very strange words, and the moon came closer to earth than it had ever been before.

With everything illuminated, the good fairy stuck out a very long tongue, like a giant frog’s tongue, and snatched her evil sister away from the hummingbirds.

The hummingbirds flew behind their fairy godmother and she released her evil sister in order to scold her.

“It’s time to put the water back,

and shrink you down in size,

you dried up all the land,

and it wasn’t very nice.”

Witch scowled.

“Well look who it is,

it’s a little bee,

she grew up again,

just to bother me.”

After she spoke she sent a dark green magic cloud toward them, and the hummingbirds flew away from it, but their fairy godmother conjured a bubble that captured the poisonous smoke and turned it back into fresh air.

“I have three drops of your blood Witch,

Didn’t you feel the golden needles prick?

I have my powers plus yours,

defeating you is not a very hard trick!”

The fairy godmother then sent another bubble toward Witch, but the bad fairy flew out of its way and cast a quick spell that turned the hummingbird’s wings into bee wings, and they were too small to hold them up, and the little birds started to plummet toward the water.

“Help, we can’t fly anymore!”

“Fairy bee, do something!”

“We’re falling to the watery floor!”

The fairy godmother saw and heard them and she sent out a bubble that caught them. Then she saw Witch flying away and she sent out a bubble that caught her too.

The bubble that held the hummingbirds restored their wings to their proper size, and the bubble that was holding the bad fairy squeezed her until she was as small as a grain of rice. The fairy godmother then put the little bubble in her pocket and went to talk to the hummingbirds, who were hovering.

“You three heroes deserve a reward, you were very courageous, and you worked very hard.

Now what do your precious little heart’s desire? A castle fit for kings, with a nice warm fire?”

“I want to go to the end of the world.”

“As do I.”

“As do I.”

“Very well, we shall finish your quest,

we’ll take a rainbow in the morning,

since it’s the fastest and the best.”

They went to a little fairy house nearby and slept until the morning. As the sun came up it started to rain a little, and a rainbow appeared right outside the door. All four of them flew right into it, and in the next moment, they were at the end of the world, on top of a big pink flower.

“It looks like a forest.”

“I can smell the sweetest nectar.”

“This is just the place for us.”

The hummingbirds met all the other fairies and they loved the end of the world so much that they never left.

If you ever make it there yourself, you’ll probably find them at the fairy tree watching over the fairy eggs.

The End

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