"My dear boy," said Mother Robin, "we shall teach you to fly as soon as your wings are strong enough."
"You are a very little bird," said his father, "and ought to be good and obedient, and wait patiently till your wing-feathers grow; and then you can soar away to some purpose."
"Wait for my wing-feathers? Humbug!" Tip-Top would say, as he sat balancing with his little short tail on the edge of the nest, and looking down through the grass and clover-heads below, and up into the blue clouds above. "Father and mother are slow old birds; they keep a fellow back with their confounded notions. If they don't hurry up, I'll take matters into my own claws, and be off some day before they know it. Look at those swallows, skimming and diving through the blue air! That's the way I want to do."
"But, dear brother, the way to learn to do that is to be good and obedient while we are little, and wait till our parents think it best for us to begin."
"Shut up your preaching," said Tip-Top; "what do you girls know of flying?"
"About as much as you," said Speckle. "However, I'm sure I don't care how soon you take yourself off, for you take up more room than all the rest put together."
"You mind yourself, Master Speckle, or you'll get something you don't like," said Tip-Top, still strutting in a very cavalier way on the edge of the nest, and sticking up his little short tail quite valiantly.
"O my darlings," said their mamma, now fluttering home, "cannot I ever teach you to live in love?"