‘What are you doing over there, My La-a-amb? Don’t you go picking flowers until Granny Baa sees them first.’
‘What about this pretty yellow one, Granny Baa?’
‘Let me come and see it, pet. Oh, no pet. Best you leave him alone. He’ll burn you, My La-a-amb. He’s got a nasty juice in him.’
‘But he looks so pretty, why is he so horrible, Granny Baa?’
‘No, My La-a-amb, no. He’s not horrible. He’s really kind, but he made a promise you see, and we must keep our promises now, mustn’t we? You come and sit over here with me and I’ll tell you about it.
‘Well now, let me see, I think it was in May. Not May this year, mind, May a few years ago now.
‘Spring was a little late. She’d been helping Winter to wipe down the snowflakes before they were put away in their boxes, ready for next year. He’d needed such a lot of snow that year and the snowflakes were piled higgledy-piggledy just everywhere. It was hard work. It was made even harder by dark heavy clouds lying about on top of the snowflakes, and just getting in everyone’s way.
‘In the end, Spring just shooed them all out of the door and told them to play outside until she was ready for them. You see, all those clouds had to be washed and ironed, then folded up and put away, too.
‘Now, down here in the countryside, all those clouds – just waiting around until Spring was ready for them – made the sky all dark and gloomy. That little green bush, My La-a-amb? Well, he was just sitting there, waiting patiently for Spring to arrive. He knew that she would get here as soon as she could.
‘Just then, the first swallow flew over.
“Hello, Swallow,” our bush called out, “you’re a bit early. Spring isn’t here yet, and you know Summer won’t come until Spring has been round and dusted everything for her.”
‘The swallow swooped low over our little bush “Hello, Little Bush,” he called back. “Why is it so gloomy here? It wasn’t like this when I left, last year. I’ve been to Africa, you know – it’s a wonderful place – full of brightness and light. It’s so dark here, I’ve been thinking about going back to Africa. These days, all we swallows talk about is going back to Africa.”
“Oh, no,” the little bush cried out. “You mustn’t do that. Summer won’t ever come if there are no swallows!”
“Well, we’ve nests to build and eggs to lay. We can’t wait too long,” said Swallow.
“Look, look, Swallow,” called out the little green bush as the swallow swooped by again. “Look, I’ll bring out all my flowers for you – and I will keep flowering until the end of the summer.” Suddenly the little green bush was bright with pretty yellow flowers.
“Oh that’s wonderful, little bush,” the swallow swooped round and round “Just wait until I tell all the others. Such bright and cheerful flowers make everything so much less gloomy. Oh, but wait, such pretty flowers will soon be picked by people who will want them to cheer up their homes too.”
“Oh no, Swallow. We can’t have that. These flowers are especially for you.”
‘The little bush thought and thought, “I know, I’ll make my sap strong and acid. It will burn them if they try to pick my flowers. They’ll soon realise that the flowers are there to cheer up the swallows. I’m sure people will be pleased that my blossoms make you happy – because they know that without swallows, Summer will never come.”
“Thank you little bush, that really will make all the swallows happy, just wait until I tell everyone!” and Swallow flew off to spread the news.
‘So you see, My La-a-amb, that bush made a promise to the swallows and he wants you to help him to keep it. You leave him be, now.’
‘Oh yes, of course Granny Baa, he must keep his promise. We must have Summer.’