The Show stealer

The Show stealer

One morning she was pleasantly surprised to hear the sweet strains of Schubert's Ave Maria floating in through her kitchen window.  She stepped out of her house to trace the source of this melodious music. Although, she looked all around she could see no-one.  The sound was emanating from behind the rose bushes in her garden.  Quietly, she approached and much to her astonishment, she found herself face to face with the talented musician who was none other than a lyrebird.

There it stood with its extraordinary tail plumes of white and brown shaped like a lyre (harp-like instrument), exercising its fantastic ability to reproduce sounds.   Startled by her sudden appearance, the lyrebird scurried out of her garden into the safety of the woodlands from whence it came.  Mrs. Robinson hoped her unexpected musical visitor would drop by again.

A few days later, she heard the unmistakable puttering sound of the lawnmower.  "I wonder who's mowing my lawn", she thought.  Looking out she saw her winged visitor - the lyrebird, scratching around for worms in her garden making these strange noises.  The lyrebird saw her looking at him and broke into a popular Beatles song - "She loves me, yeah, yeah, yeah …"   Laughing, Mrs. Robinson stood by her window, enraptured by her gifted visitor.  He could imitate the calls of various other birds in her garden as well as the ringing of her telephone or whirring of her blender.

Soon the lyrebird, who Mrs. Robinson nicknamed Schubert, became a regular visitor to her garden. He built a little mound, almost like a stage, on which he would stand, fanning his lacy white tail feathers over his head and sing and dance for her.  She listened to her radio less, now that she had this live performer in her garden.

Word spread and the neighbours would gather to see the lyrebird perform for Mrs. Robinson.   He developed quite a fan following and played to the audience.  He thrilled the kids by singing Happy Birthday or nursery rhymes for them.  At Christmas, he accompanied the carol singers in a beautiful baritone.  Thanks to the lyrebird Mrs. Robinson made many new friends.

Schubert took up residence in her garden and nested in one of the trees at night.  One day, he reproduced the sounds made by chainsaws and the thudding sound of felled trees.  This saddened Mrs. Robinson as she realized that the poor bird must have lost its home to unscrupulous woodcutters but she was glad to have its delightful, entertaining company.  Lyrebirds are excellent mimics and can reproduce almost any sound they hear.  Since it had left the forest, it had added lots of new urban sounds to its ever growing repertoire.

One night, two young men, looking to make an easy buck, decided to burgle old Mrs. Robinson, who lived all alone on the outskirts of the town.  Disconnecting her burglar alarm they sneaked in through an open window.  Mrs. Robinson yelled for help as they tied her up and demanded money from her at gun point.  Then they gagged her with a scarf while ransacking her home.

Suddenly the burglar alarm started blaring.  "What's that?  You idiot!  Can't you do a single thing I tell you properly?" yelled the leader of the thieves to his accomplice.  "I thought you had disconnected the alarm."  "So did I", answered his friend scratching his head in confusion. 

They heard the wailing siren of a police car approaching fast and the brakes screeching as it halted in front of the house.  The burglars had time only to decamp by the back door with what they had stuffed in their pockets.  They were nabbed by the neighbours who had come running on hearing the hullabaloo.  When they tried to shut the alarm they found it disconnected; yet strangely, it was still blaring away.  Finally, they discovered Schubert, still in his tree, mimicking the burglar alarm.  Schubert had awoken when Mrs. Robinson yelled and had sensed something was wrong. 

The burglars had come to steal but it was Schubert who stole the show by getting them caught due to his amazing mimicking abilities.  The newspaper men came to take his picture the next day, as he stood preening on his mound.  They laughed as they heard Schubert imitating the clicking and whirring sounds of the camera shutters. He then imitated the Kookaburra's strange laugh-like call and bobbed up and down as if taking a bow.   When he saw Mrs. Robinson emerge from the house, almost as if on cue, he started singing the Simon and Garfunkel song - "Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know…God bless you, please Mrs. Robinson…"
"God bless you too, Schubert", replied Mrs. Robinson smiling radiantly. 


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