The stream flowed quickly, passing
tall oaks and mighty pines. As it cascaded over the edge, the water landed
in small bamboo buckets attached to a waterwheel. When the water filled
the bucket, it moved the wheel around in circles. The full buckets dumped
themselves out into a trough that carried the water to the fields for
Sung-Ling sat under a tree watching
the stream bubble as it went by. She laughed when drops of water jumped
out of the stream into the pink lotus flowers. Her friend, Lieh, sat next
to her. "Sung-Ling, do you see that frog?" she asked.
"Yes. Itís hopping from stone to
stone in the stream," Sung-Ling replied.
"Why donít we chase it?" Lieh
"Itís hopping quickly and taking big
leaps. Do you think we can catch it?" Sung-Ling asked.
"Yes, of course. Weíll never know
unless we try," Lieh said. "Come on."
The girls stood up and ran along the
side of the stream. "There it goes," Sung-Ling said as the frog hopped
into one of the buckets of the water wheel. "Look at it," she giggled.
The frog plopped into the water as
the wheel turned in circles. Around and around it went until it was dumped
out the other side into the irrigation ditch. CROAK! CROAK! It stood in
the shallow water, not knowing which direction to go. "Catch it!" Lieh
called, but before they could get any closer, the frog hopped quickly into
The girls were at the bottom of the
water wheel. "Did you see the frog? It went around and around. That looks
like fun. I wonder if we put something else in there, it would do the same
thing?" Sung-Ling asked.
Lieh picked up a branch from the
ground. It had several leaves attached. "You stand on the other side and
Iíll put the branch in. Weíll see if it comes out like the frog," she
said. Sung-Ling climbed over the stream and stood near the ditch. "Here it
comes," Lieh said, dropping the branch into the stream. The water flowed
and carried it to the water wheel. It was picked up in one of the small
bamboo buckets and the wheel started to spin. "Wheeeeeeeee!" Lieh called.
Just then the branch spilled onto
the ground near Sung-Lingís feet. "It did it! Try something else," she
Lieh looked around for something
else. She found a large stone shaped like a heart. "Here comes a stone!"
But the stone was too heavy and didnít float. "It wonít work. Iíll have to
try something else!"
Sung-Ling waited patiently while
Lieh looked for something lighter. "Aha! Iíve found hollow piece of
bamboo. That will float," she called to her friend. "Here it comes," she
said, dropping the bamboo into the water. It floated down the stream and
was picked up in one of the buckets. The water wheel spun around and
around. "Wheeeeeeee!" cried Lieh.
The bucket of water spilled out near
Sung-Lingís feet once more, this time dumping the piece of bamboo along
with it. "Iíve got it," she called. "This is fun!"
There was nothing else on the ground
that Lieh could see. She started looking in the trees. She spotted a
birdís nest. She climbed up the tree and pulled it from the branches.
Holding it carefully in her hands, she climbed down. "Iíve got something
pretty for you," she called to Sung-Ling. "Here it comes," she said,
setting the birdís nest down in the water. It floated quickly and was soon
caught in the bucket. "Wheeeeeeee!"
Sung-Ling waited and watched as the
water wheel spun around. The bucket dumped out near her feet and along
with it, the birdís nest. Sung-Ling looked in horror. There were eggs in
the nest and they broke into pieces as they were tossed to the ground by
the water. "Lieh! What did you do?" she called.
Lieh came running over. "Itís just a
birdís nest, Sung-Ling."
"Lieh, there were eggs in that nest
and now they are broken. Look in the tree," Sung-Ling said, sadly.
Lieh looked up. The mother bird sat on the branch looking down at her nest
and her broken eggs. A tear ran down Sung-Lingís face. "Lieh, this was
supposed to be fun but now its not," Sung-Ling said and ran away.
Lieh stared at the mother bird. It
chirped a sad song. Suddenly she felt very bad. She picked up the
water-soaked nest and as many of the eggs as she could. Most of them were
cracked and broken, but one of them was whole. "Look, Mother bird, Iíve
got one of your eggs," Lieh said. She put it in the nest and walked back
over to the tree. She carefully climbed and put it back where she found
it, but this time it only had one egg in it instead of the six that were
there before. The mother bird flew over to her nest and climbed inside.
She sat on her egg. Lieh stood watching as water dripped from the nest.
She felt very sad.
Every day she came down to the water
wheel and looked at the mother bird. She made chirping sounds, trying to
let the bird know she was sorry, but it ignored her. Sung-Ling wouldnít go
near the water wheel.
One day, as Sung-Ling was sitting on
her front grass, Lieh came running up to her. "Sung-Ling, you must come
with me to the water wheel. You must come and see."
Sung-Ling was angry with Lieh and
didnít want to go.
"Itís a surprise. Itís a happy
surprise," Lieh promised. Sung-Ling went with her. "Look, in the tree,"
she said, pointing to the nest. Sung-Ling looked up. There was a baby bird
in the nest. The mother bird was feeding it a plump, juicy worm. "Every
day I bring worms and put them on the ground so the mother bird can have
them to feed her baby," Lieh smiled.
Sung-Ling smiled. She knew that
there should have been more babies, but was happy that the mother bird had
one to take care of. From then on, Sung-Ling and Lieh didnít play near the
water wheel. Never again did they chase frogs and never again did Lieh
disturb a birdís nest.