Masha gave him some fresh strawberries. Artem carefully examined them, chose the biggest and took a bite. Then made a revealing grimace and authoritatively stated: “It is sour!” “Gleat,” Masha lisped, “then I’ll have all of them!”
It was the beginning of summer. Adults tried not to interfere in their children’s games: the age when their kids preferred to pour each other on the head with a bucket of sand or poke something in the eye were long gone. Now, eight-year Masha and Artem were chasing the cat Murka around summer house, hunting for cherries, looking for urchins at night and sometimes hid from parents behind the fluffy black currant bushes. Only the swing sometimes became an issue of dispute, and then mothers tried to interfere to solve it peacefully.
Peacefully … now this word made the mothers’ heart clench. Even here, in a secure place, they could not forget about the war. Those who decide the fate of countries couldn’t or didn’t want to provide peace for their children. Their husbands were taken to die for peace, to save the country. But now it looked like in fact they had to save something else. People in power continued braking promises, dividing lands and resources. Undeclared war lasted, the there was no bottom to it. But it became obvious that someone kept using frightened, drained, angry people talking about their salvation.
”Mom, I caught a sparrow!” Artem ran to his mother with his eyes round with excitement, clutching in his hands a small bird. Behind him ran Mary, waving her arms in protest and demanding to release the chick. Fortunately jumping over a lying child’s bike, Artem broke off the chase and presented a furry creature to women.
Chick, slightly flattened by a child’s palms, was staring fearfully at the people. The remnants of fluff were sticking out on both sides of his head, but he was confident enough in the legs and periodically made a loud squeak. “Let him go!” cried Masha. “But I have saved him! Murka would definitely catch him!” replied the boy and pulled his hands away from Masha.
The adults looked at each other. “Will we feed it?” – Artem’s mom offered, looking sympathetically at a bird. “What!?” Masha’s mother returned: “It is clearly a fledgling – a chick that flew out of the nest to begin an independent life. For sparrows such a behavior is normal. We need to quickly return it to where it was found so that its parents could feed it a few more days. Then it will be able to fly and find food!” “But Murka …?” Artem hesitated. “If we feed it, the chick, most likely, will never be able to return to nature. It will stay with us forever, and it means that it loses its freedom,” the woman explained. Masha triumphantly looked at Artem: “No need to save anyone!”
Children raced to show their mothers the place where they found the sparrow, put it in a secluded place and hid a bit further. After some time a loud peep of a chick was heard by an adult sparrow. “They found it!” Mary whispered gleefully, “It will be ok!”
From the height of the neighbor’s fence Murka was lazily watching everything that was going on. Yawning, she licked her lips and nose and turned to the evening sun. With all her pose she seemed to say that chasing sparrows was the least interested task in her life. At least in this warm summer evening.