There Miss Tredgold asked to see hats, and presently the two girls and their aunt were absorbed in the fascinating occupation of trying on new headgear. Miss Tredgold was buying a very pretty hat for herself also. It was to be trimmed with lace and feathers, and Verena had a momentary sense of disappointment that she was to have nothing so gay to wear on her own head.
Spare my life, and I will give you a lovely cap of tufted feathers to hide the bite of the wicked sharp-thing-made-by-man. Pray, let me go, dear Master Owl." The Owl considered for a moment, and then decided to accept the bargain.
They stared at him with wonder at the breaking point. It all seemed so obviously and marvellously true. How had they missed it up till now? "So get a feather," he went on quietly, "and then we can begin to look at once." No one objected, no one criticised, no one hesitated. Tim knew where all the feathers were because he knew every nest in the garden. He led the way.
One day when the people were preparing to go and fight against Manabo, they went to the pináing, and while they danced a red rooster with long tail feathers came out of the stones and walked around them. When they stopped dancing, he went again into the stones. Since that time a white cock has sometimes appeared and once a white dog came out while the people danced.
There stands an old tree, cut it down, and you will find something at the roots." Then the little man took leave of him. Dummling went and cut down the tree, and when it fell there was a goose sitting in the roots with feathers of pure gold. He lifted her up, and taking her with him, went to an inn where he thought he would stay the night.
That visit turned me into an enthusiast, for before we returned I had been for hours feasting my eyes upon the stuffed birds and noting the wondrous colours on their scale-like feathers. I could think of scarcely anything else, talk of nothing else afterwards for days; and nothing would do but I must begin to collect birds and prepare and stuff them for myself.
Even Old Boze did not find it, although he followed Sam up and down the trail many times. You see, Mother Mit-chee knew enough to sit perfectly still, and her mottled feathers blended so exactly with the tree trunks and the dead leaves about her that only the sharp eyes of the Finder of the Magic Flower ever found her out.
Besides, when they go to War, their Hair is comb'd out by the Women, and done over very much with Bears Grease, and red Root; with Feathers, Wings, Rings, Copper, and Peak, or Wampum in their Ears.
"They look very big and strong, papa," remarked the little boy, gazing at them with great interest. "Yes; they are so strong that one can easily carry two men on his back." "Is that what they are good for, papa?" "That is one thing; and their feathers are very valuable. For that reason ostrich farms have been established for the raising of the birds, and have proved very profitable."
I was told by a stockman on Fanning Downs station that on several occasions when he had wounded birds of this variety of the parrot tribe, their companions descended upon them with fury, tore out their feathers, and bit and lacerated them savagely.