The New One – P L Travers

Annabel and the Fledgling 514x380px.. “Good girl!” croaked the Starling approvingly. He cocked his head on one side and gazed at her with his round bright eye. “I hope,” he remarked politely, “you are not too tired after your journey.”

Annabel shook her head.

“Where has she come from— out of an egg?” cheeped the Fledgling suddenly.

“Huh-huh!” scoffed Mary Poppins. “Do you think she’s a sparrer?”

The Starling gave her a pained and haughty look.

“Well what is she, then” And where did she come from?” cried the Fletchling shrilly, flapping his short wings and staring down at the cradle.

You tell him, Annabel!” the Starling croaked.

Annabel moved her hands inside the blanket.

“I am earth and air and fire and water,” she said softly. “I come from the Dark where all things have their beginning.”

“Ah, such dark!” said the Starling softly, bending his head to his breast.

“It was dark in the egg, too,” the Fledgling cheeped.

“I come from the sea and its tides,” Annabel went on. “I come from the sky and its stars. I come from the sun and its brightness——”

“Ah, so bright!” said the Starling, nodding.

“And I come from the forests of earth.”

As if in a dream, Mary Poppins rocked the cradle— to-and-fro, to-and-fro with a steady swinging movement.

“Yes?” whispered the Fledgling.

“Slowly I moved at first,” said Annabel, “always sleeping and dreaming. I remembered all I had been and I thought of all I shall be. And when I had dreamed my dream I awoke and came swiftly.”

She paused for a moment, her blue eyes full of memories.

“And then?” prompted the Fledgling.

“I heard the stars singing as I came and I felt warm wings about me. I passed the beasts of the jungle and came through the dark deep waters. It was a long journey.”

Annabel was silent.

The Fledgling stared at her with his bright inquisitive eyes.

Mary Poppins’ hand lay quietly on the side of the cradle. She had stopped rocking.

“A long journey, indeed!” said the Starling softly, lifting his head from his breast. ..

Mary Poppins Comes Back, Chapter Five, The New One, P. L. Travers, 1935
Illustrated by M Shephard

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