The Story of Johnny Robin

The Story of Johnny Robin

Johnny Robin grew restless and discontented in his winter home in the marshland down in Florida. One day he cocked an eye at the sky and said, "I think I will fly north. Something inside me tells me that I will find springtime when I get up north in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania."

All his young friends looked at him in excitement. Then Johnny said, "You know, I would like to be there on the first day of spring, just to sing to all the boys and girls as they go to school, 'Cheer up, cheer up, cheer up.' "

Some of the robins said, "Johnny, we want to fly with you, too." But others said, "Now don't be foolish, Johnny, it is much too early yet to go north," and then one old robin who was a joy-killer said that he knew for sure that spring would come much later this year.

"Yes," said Old Robin Grouch, "how do you know that spring might not decide to skip a year and never come at all this year?"

But all this did not discourage Johnny Robin. He was so sure he would find the springtime if he flew north that he stuck out his red breast and dandied up his gray coat, and spreading his wings with a yip, yip, yip, off he flew. Many robins flew with Johnny, but as the miles grew longer and longer, some stopped to rest here and there while they journeyed along the way.

One day when Johnny was flying, he looked around and saw that he was flying all alone. But he was brave and did not mind for he said, "I want to be there in the Pocono Mountains on the first day of spring to sing to all the boys and girls on their way to school, 'Cheer up, cheer up, cheer up.'

Johnny arrived at the Pocono Mountains just the very day before the first day of spring. But imagine how sad he was, for there was no springtime anywhere. The ground was all covered with snow and the icy wind blew and roared through the trees. Flakes of snow were falling on Johnny's wings and head as he flew through the air. Johnny saw no chance to get any dinner, except for a few crumbs which a good lady put in a little box on her window sill. Johnny was getting cold and soon he was shivering in every one of his little bones.

"Oh, dear, oh, dear," he said, "I must have made a mistake after all. I did come too far north and perhaps the springtime is skipping this year."

At last he found a little perch under a roof where he could get out of the chilling wind. There Johnny sat with his head hunched down into his feathers, wet and cold and discouraged, and with his tail drooping way down.

"Perhaps I should not have been so sure about the coming of spring," said Johnny, "and I certainly do not think I can sing to cheer up anybody." He was so chilled and sad and lonely that he would have cried himself to sleep, only robins cannot cry like we can.

Johnny Robin had come so far and was so very tired that he slept late the next morning. When he opened his eyes, he could hardly believe what he saw! A big yellow sun was flaming in crimson and shone all through the sky, and it was melting the snow away. The streams were running and singing a song with merry laughter. The green grass was appearing on the lawns. Johnny fluffed down his feathers, lifted up his head, flew down to the grass, and pulled up a fat worm for breakfast. Then over in a garden he saw yellow crocuses and purple ones, too. Just then Johnny flew up to the tippity-top branch of a pine tree, and expanding his little lungs to the limit, he sang his song, as the boys and girls went down the road to school, "Cheer up, cheer up, cheer up."

The boys and girls turned and pointed their fingers at him and they shouted, "It must be the first day of spring, for Johnny the Robin  is here!"

Johnny Robin was so glad to see them, too. But what he did not know was that when they went to school, the teacher put his name upon the blackboard, for he was the very first robin anyone had seen that spring.

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