Once, the kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree, with the sun shining on him and all he surveyed, spied a mouse way down below. His eyesight was excellent. Before the mouse could say, "Where am I?," Kookaburra was flying down to catch him.
But the sun was shining brighter than other days, and even with his keen eyes, Kookaburra didn't see a gum tree branch in front of him. Oh no! He flew straight into the branch and, instead of touching down beside Mouse, he fell into a clumsy heap!
Mouse was getting a better idea where he was by now, and squeaked to Kookaburra, "My friend, can you still fly?"
Kookaburra was stunned...not only was his wing sore but, for the first time, a mouse had spoken to him. Usually he just swallowed them.
"My friend," he said in reply, "I can't move my wing. It looks like I've broken it."
Mouse was a brave mouse and he knew, when he saw the sun shining into his eyes that morning, that something special was going to happen.
"Fear not," he gamely said to Kookaburra, "although I look like breakfast to you, I am in fact a fully qualified surgeon..."
"Impossible," said Kookaburra, still somewhat concussed, and not yet ready to deal with baffling conversation, "you don't even look like you could drive an ambulance!"
Mouse took the insult in his stride, being a generally unflappable kind of mouse.
"If you let me fix your wing, Kookaburra," he ventured, "all I ask is for your protection, and that I may never be seen as breakfast again."
"Deal done," Kookaburra hastily agreed ( his wing was getting rather sore by now ).
And so it was. Mouse fixed Kookaburra's wing so well he was able to fly again. In time, he forgot all about being compared to an ambulance driver. And Kookaburra? In all his subsequent days of flying, he was always watching out for Mouse, his true friend, who lived to be a very old, uneaten mouse.
For James Golden.