Long ago when the world was very young, the birds did not know how to build nests for themselves.
The Magpie was the only bird that knew how to build a nest well. His nest was covered all over,except for a hole to go in and out.
The other birds talked a great deal about the wonderful house which the Magpie built. They allwished they could build one just like it for their little birds.
So one day two birds of every kind went to see the Magpie. They said: " Magpie, we have come to learn how to build nests for ourselves and our little birds. Will you please show us how?"
The Magpie said, "I would be glad to show you howto build nests. But you must watch everything I do.First, I lay two sticks across each other like so."
"Then I mix some straw and some moss like this,"showed the Magpie. "Oh yes, certainly," said the Bluebird. "I guessed that without being taught."
"Then I add more moss and more straw and somefeathers like this," said the Magpie. "Yes, yes," saidthe Sparrow. "Even though I'm not a builder, I knewthat was the way to do it."
Still the Magpie went on, but the birds acted as ifthey knew everything he told them. At last he wouldtell them no more, even though the nest was only built half way. "If you knew all about nest-building,then why did you come here to learn it from me?You should go and build your own nests now and Iwill teach you no more."
Then away they all flew. Each bird set to work tobuild himself a nest. But when they had built up halfway, they stopped, since they did not know how tobuild any more. So to this day their nests all looklike the Magpie's, just cut in half!