Robin was fed up with being a robin. He used to think being a robin was the best, but no more.
“All ready for Christmas, mate?” His friend asked him one December day, “looking forward to all that bob-bob-bobbin?”
“Not me,” replied Robin, “I’m not doing it this year. There will be no visits to gardens, no sitting in picturesque scenes posing for amateur photographers, and absolutely no showing off my red breast!”
Robin zipped his tiny leather jacket right up to his beak to make sure that his chest was completely covered (Robin had recently started wearing a black leather jacket. He thought it made him look like a cool rebel… he was right).
“Seriously, dude,” his friend argued, “you used to be all about Christmas. What’s changed?”
“I’ll tell you what’s changed,” said Robin, “I’m fed up. Fed up of robins only getting attention from humans at Christmas. We’re here all year round. Spring, summer, autumn and winter. But in summer when the sky is blue and the grass is green no one cares. They only care when its grey and cold and our lovely red breasts are the only colour in an otherwise bleak landscape. I’ve had enough. I’m not gonna be a robin anymore, I’m getting a new job.”
“C’mon, man, think about the robin cards, the robin wrapping, the festive robin tea towels… we’re the number one Christmas bird.” His friend pleaded.
“What about turkeys?” Robin sneered.
“Well I wouldn’t swap being a robin with being a turkey. Especially not at Christmas… but hey, that gives me an idea.” And with that Robin checked his zip was still secure and he flew to the zoo.
At the zoo, Robin had a persuasive conversation with a fancy flamingo. The flamingo was so impressed with Robin’s leather jacket, that he agreed to swap jobs with him immediately. It was simple, all the flamingo had to do was hang around in peoples’ gardens and all Robin had to do was stand on one leg in water.
The flamingo did a great job. People marvelled at his proud pinkness in an otherwise bleak landscape. Robin, on the other hand, was too small to stand one-legged in the water. The other flamingoes didn’t even notice the tiny bird floundering beneath the surface. When he came up for air, Robin decided that being a flamingo wasn’t for him. He needed a new job.
Robin was a rebel. A renegade. He had a cool leather jacket. He knew exactly what job to do. He would be a falcon.
It was a bit scary, but Robin managed to convince a reluctant falcon to swap jobs with him. It was simple, all the falcon had to do was hop onto thin twigs, or snow covered fences and wait for amateur photographers to get a satisfying shot. All Robin had to do was chase and eat pigeons.
The falcon was excellent at being a robin. She perched on an old spade by an old shed in an old allotment, just as a robin would do. The photographers couldn’t believe their luck, photographing a falcon close up was a dream. Robin on the other hand was too small to chase pigeons. The pigeons refused to be chased by such a small bird, and they flew him out of town. Robin decided that being a falcon wasn’t for him. He needed a new job. He didn’t really want to eat pigeons anyway.
Then, on Christmas Eve, from high in the sky, Robin heard a ‘hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo.’ He looked up and saw a familiar V formation. Swans. Surely that was a job that Robin could do.
As it happened the swan in the front of the V was only too happy to swap jobs with Robin, and as Swans fly higher than most other birds, Robin’s jacket would keep him warm at altitude. It was simple, all the swan had to do was daintily peck at crumbs that old ladies left for him, and all Robin had to do was lead a formation of migrating swans.
The swan took to being a robin like a duck to water (…or … er… whatever…) and hoovered up all the seeds and crumbs that he could get his beak on. Robin, though, was too small to fly great distances at high altitude. He just didn’t have the stamina. When it grew dark Robin had to hitch a ride on the back of one of the other swans.
Robin was fed up. Maybe he wasn’t a renegade rebel after all. He wasn’t impressive like the flamingo, he wasn’t ruthless like the falcon and he wasn’t strong like the swan. He was just a small bird in a leather jacket on the back of a big bird high in the sky. What would he do now?
Before Robin could think of an answer something rather unexpected happened. The flying V was disrupted by flying reindeer and an unruly flying sleigh. Feather and fur collided and flurried and somehow the V and the sleigh and the reindeer became mixed up. Some of the reindeer flew off with the swans, some of the swans were hitched to the sleigh, and little Robin ended up tangled in Santa’s beard.
“Woah, woah, woah,” Santa boomed, “a robin. How wonderful. It is truly a Christmas miracle. You are just what I need right now.”
“You don’t need me,” said Robin in a tiny voice, “I’m no use to anyone.”
“Oh, oh, oh. On the contrary my dear boy, you are the Christmas bird and Christmas needs you. I need you” Santa bellowed, “You see, my reindeer are confused. Lost. They have no one to guide them through the starry night, and we have a sleigh full of presents to deliver.”
Robin was baffled, “what about Rudolph? Doesn’t he usually guide the sleigh?”
“Usually, yes” replied Santa, “but Rudolph bonked his conk and now it’s lost its redness. The other reindeer don’t know what to do. Will you help?”
“How can I help? I’m just a robin. And not a very good one either. A flamingo, a falcon and a swan have all done my job better than me. I’m useless.”
“No, no, no,” whispered Santa, “you, my small friend, are incredibly special. What do you have that those other birds do not?”
“A cool leather jacket?” Asked Robin.
“Ho ho, ho,” laughed Santa, “well, yes, that is a cool leather jacket, but I’m talking about what is underneath it. Your red breast! Will you guide my sleigh tonight?”
Robin unzipped his jacket. The red beneath shone like a ruby. His chest glowed like a beautiful beacon. Now this was a job he could be great at. It was simple, Rudolph would lead the reindeer and pull the sleigh, Robin would be his nose.
Rudolph was Rudolph and gathered the other reindeer quickly. The swans continued their migration. They all did their jobs to the best of their ability, but Robin, on the other hand, was super-fantastic-extra-specially-excellent at being a shiny red nose.
Christmas was saved, presents were delivered, peace and good will reigned and Robin discovered his dream job. It was only for one night a year, but what a night it was.
The next day (Christmas Day), Robin met his friend on a frozen bird bath in a friendly garden.
“I’m glad you’re back” said his friend.
“I’m glad I’m back too” said Robin. “Wanna do something?”
“How about a bit of bob-bob-bobbin’” suggested his friend, “and maybe a bit of rockin’ ?”
“Sounds perfect,” Robin answered with a smile. “I love Christmas.”
On the other side of the garden a blue tit found a discarded leather jacket and slipped it on,
‘I’m a maverick’ he thought.