Wings of fire

Phil and Jill were two parrots. They lived on an island in the middle of the ocean. It was a very nice island, with palm trees and waterfalls— and no people. Phil and Jill were very happy.

Then, one day, a big ship stopped at the island. Men came ashore from the ship. They had machines that clanked and snorted all day and all night. Phil and Jill were very frightened. They hid in the trees to watch what happened.

First, the men knocked down all the trees in a wide strip down the middle of the island. Then they smoothed the ground. Then they covered it with concrete. Next, they built houses and huts down one side of the concrete strip. Finally, other men painted a white stripe down the middle of the concrete.

Then all the people went away. The island became very quiet again. Slowly, the animals came out of their hiding places. The  brave ones even played games on the wide concrete strip. They forgot about the people.

One day, Phil and Jill were flying over the island. Suddenly, a strange black bird flew past them. It was huge! It held its wings out stiffly from its side and screamed as it flew by very fast. Smoke and flame whooshed from its tail.

Phil and Jill were blown all round the sky. When they finally stopped tumbling, they hurried to a nearby tree to watch. They saw the strange bird land on the wide concrete strip.

‘He was in a hurry, wasn’t he?’ Phil said to Jill. ‘And did you hear him scream!’

‘Yes,’ said Jill. ‘But you would scream too if your tail feathers were on fire!’

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