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How the Finch Got its Colors

Published September 1, 2000
Countries: None
Age Levels: 8 and up

Once upon a time, the color filled the world.  The sky, earth and the waters were colorfu0l.  The trees and flowers showed every color of the rainbow.  The animals that walked the earth, and the fish that swam the seas were colorful.  But, the birds of the air had no color at all.  They were all gray.  Light gray, medium gray, dark gray.  They all were gray.

The birds did not like being gray.  "We want to fit in better in this colorful world," they said.  "We are so gray.  We want to have colors of our own."

The Great Bird that rules over all birds heard their cries and called them together.  "I heard your calls," he said.  "What color from the rainbow would you like to be?"

The cardinal whistled to get everyone?s attention.  "Make me red!  I love the color red.  Please, please, may I be red?  Red like the sun at sunrise and sunset.  Red like a rose.  Red like a cherry.  Red, red, red!"

The Great Bird flapped his wings.  Part of the red in the rainbow shined, and the cardinal turned red. 

The birds lined up behind the cardinal.  But, the robin pushed to the front of the line.  The robin was the first bird seen in the spring.  The early robin always got the worms first.  Now he wanted his colors before the others.  "Orange," he yelled.  "Orange!  Make me orange like a lily, orange like the sun, orange like an orange on a tree.  Orange, orange, orange!"

The Great Bird flapped his wings.  Part of the orange in the rainbow shined.  As the robin started to turn orange, he was pushed by the canary.  Only his belly became orange.

"Yellow," shouted the canary.  "Yellow like a lemon.  Yellow like the moon that lights up the night.  I love yellow.  Make me yellow."  The rainbow sparkled, and the canary became bright yellow.

"Green," squawked the parrot.  "I want to be green.  I want to be green like the grass.  Make me green like leaves, so I can hide in the forest.  Make me green, green, green."  The green light on the rainbow sparkled, and the parrot turned green.

The bluebird pushed the other birds aside.  "Blue! I get blue.  Blue, blue blue!!  Blue like the sky!  Blue like the ocean.  Make me blue."  Part of the blue on the rainbow shined on the little gray bird and turned it blue. 

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.  One by one the colors were used up.  Some birds mixed the colors and became brown and had shades of different colors.   The Great Bird that gave the bird their colors smiled to see them so happy.  Then, she saw a little finch sitting alone by itself.  It was still gray. 

"What are you doing, Little Bird?" asked the Great Bird.

"I am sitting and waiting my turn," said the finch.  I did not want to shout or push or act rude.  Do I have to stay gray?"

The Great Bird shed a tear.  This little bird needed to be rewarded for being so very polite.  "You will not have to stay gray," said the Great Bird.  Then, the Great Bird called to all of the birds.  "While you all pushed and shouted, this little bird sat so very polite.  All of the colors are now gone.  "What can we do to help the finch?"

The birds all felt bad.  They had not meant to be rude.  They had just been excited about picking their colors.  One by one the birds came forward.  Each bird gave the finch a bit of its color.  The Great Bird smiled at them all.

When the last bird had given a piece of its color to the finch, they all fanned their wings to help the colors dry.  The finch was beautiful.  All of the colors from the rainbow blended together and made the finch sparkle.  The sunshine sparkled on the colors as the finch laughed and thanked them all.

This is how the bird that was the most polite became the bird that was the most beautiful.

Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs. More stories and information about storytelling can be found at