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by Mary Ansell, Copyright © 2001

Once upon a time there was a blue jay, who lived in a woods by the ocean. All day he flew from tree to tree, searching for food, and screaming and calling to his friends.

One day he met a squirrel who was spreading a rumour.

"There is a creature in this woods who can grant wishes," chattered the squirrel. "This morning I wished I could find a beech nut. Would you believe it? The next moment, I saw one right in front of me! When I'd eaten it, I tried again. I wished for an acorn. Almost before I'd finished wishing, there it was!"

"This must be investigated!" screamed the blue jay.

He began to question all the animals who lived in the woods. Finally he found a nuthatch who said, "The old crow who roosts in the tall pine tree near the Point has the power to do anything. He can grant wishes whenever he likes!"

That very afternoon, the blue jay paid a visit to the crow, and asked if it were really possible for the crow to grant wishes.

The crow fluffed up his feathers, and looked very wise. "Of course it is possible. And since you've taken the trouble to find me, you may have three wishes!"

However, the blue jay was doubtful, and decided to test the crow's power by making a very difficult wish. "I wish the sky would fall!" he told the crow.

"Nothing could be simpler," replied the crow. "Your wish will soon come true."

At first nothing happened. But soon it began to grow more and more misty, until a thick fog had settled over the woods.

"Fog is a type of cloud, and a cloud is part of the sky," reasoned the blue jay. "This probably happened because of my wish."

He was wondering what his second wish should be, when he overheard a conversation between two moths. One was saying to the other, "Did you see? There was a beautiful shower of falling stars last night, after the moon went down."

The jay found the crow again. "Blue jays are always awake all day," he explained, "but as soon as the sun goes down, they fall asleep. What I wish is that tonight I will stay wide awake, and be able to see the moon and stars."

That evening, instead of climbing into the middle of a bush and fluffing out his feathers as he always did to keep safe and warm while sleeping, the blue jay flew to the top of a pine tree, where he would have a good view. As it grew darker and darker, he heard the hoot of an owl, and saw a pair of bats swooping after insects. He was quite excited, and did not feel at all sleepy.

Finally, looking upwards, he could see the stars - hundreds of tiny pieces of light scattered over the sky. He saw a sudden streak of light, and guessed it must be a shooting star. As he watched the moon climb high in the sky, he thought carefully about what his last wish should be.

On the following day, he said to the crow, "Next nesting season is the first time I'll be old enough to have a nest of my own. What I wish for is to find a perfect mate."

"You'll meet her soon," promised the crow.

The blue jay was very pleased. He flew through the woods, from one clump of trees to the next, looking for other jays. Whenever he met a flock of jays, he told them about his wish, and that he would soon be meeting a perfect mate.

In the third flock was a young lady jay, who, as soon as she heard the blue jay's story, was sure that she was the one the magic intended as his mate.

She hopped gracefully onto the branch where he was sitting. "I think the magic has brought you to the right place," she said. "I think I am the one you are looking for."

The blue jay had never before seen such a beautiful lady jay. He found some delicious red berries, and presented them to her as a courtship present.

A few days later, the other jays, the squirrel, the nuthatch, and the old crow all came to the wedding, which was held in the crow's pine tree near the Point. The blue jay asked the crow to grant one more wish, a wish for a successful nesting season.

"Three wishes is enough," said the crow, "but I will give you some advice instead. Make sure your nest is well hidden, feed the young birds as much as possible, and don't let them explore on their own until they can fly well."

The pair followed his advice, and by the end of the season had raised a brood of charming young blue jays.

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