This story was written for Kimberlyfor a review she is doing for My Access. ME, 11 years old, was up for the challenge of a five paragraph story. She was to pretend she woke up as a bird.
A Bird in Wittenberg
It was a foggy, damp dark day during early November in Wittenberg, Germany. I became aware of a hazy light coming through my window. ‘’How odd ,'' was my next thought, because the window was at the foot of my bed, and in the mornings in stood cloaked by a heavy velvet curtain. Precisely at an hour after dawn, father, one of the most powerful Cardinals in Germany, always enjoyed us to break our fast with him before he went to the library to work. ''His job is for the pope, yours is to do your studies,'' as mother always quoted when one of my siblings or myself desired a days pleasures. I opened my eyes. My surroundings were dramatically different than what I had expected. It is dark. It is very cold. I am in a nest. I feel more shocked, I am sure, than the Virgin Mary ever felt when the angel ever appeared to her. Now I know why I felt chilly and damp this morning.
Suddenly, I noticed someone in the corner. Squinting closely, I realized it was the figure of a monk. He wore a black, course tunic and he only had a brown circlet in his head for hair, as all monks had. He was writing by candle light, then he turned his head as he reached for more paper. Somehow, he seamed vaguely familiar. Then I remembered he had come to my father to ask for something. He was named Martin Luther, and my father did not grant him whatever he wanted. It was something against the pope. As the daughter of a Catholic ruler, I am very devout to the pope , and did stare at him when he left our home from ''begging '' as father stated later after that meeting. Soon I became tired of observing him write, so I began to examine my latest surroundings and myself. I discovered that I am now a European Cardinal. Deciding to talk to this monk so he would feed me, because I was getting hungry, ‘’Hello, ‘’ I cheerily stated. It came out as a tweet. Luther looked up and groggily stated a still sleepy ‘’Good Morning,’’ and went back to scribbling furiously after looking up, what I decided was a reference. Flying out the window, I partook of a decent breakfast, much different that my usual ones. Later, I found that most of our servants were calling for me and asking everyone where I was. I flew to a tree. I wonder, will I like this Luther where my new home is?
As I fluttered back in broad daylight, I realized that Luther had no servants, and a not very tidy barn. Bits of straw, and paper and food littered the dirty floor. Dog hair also dirtied the place because a brown dog named Toelpel (I learned his name later) slept in a corner. In another corner was a bed which looked as if it had not been made for a year. A dusty very full bookshelf resided in the remaining corner. Later that evening, a younger man came to visit him. Melanchthon, who apparently was the name of the man, spoke earnestly with Luther about what to do about a papal bull. Luther accorded that he would burn “the false accusations,” of the pope. When I heard that, I became horrified. As Luther ushered his guest to the door, since he had no servants to do it, I began to drift of to sleep, imagining what daylight would hold.
Unhappily, the days ahead were against me. My days became regular as the first of many snows settled in. Rising at dawn, I trilled merrily until Luther rose, got ready, then I flew off after he began writing. The only thing I did for him was wake him. As I did not like him or his preaching, because I snuck into church on Sundays. My days were filled with hunting food, praying to all the saints for me to become “unbirdified,” and attempting to make humans understand me. I stayed away from my nest during the day, as that man would chase me away. He complained to his regular visitor, Melanchthon, that a bird had come to reside in his room, and although he loved birds, so he said, it was a necessity to chase me away, for I might give him a headache.
Later, as I flew over the town, I noticed a large gathering and a very familiar Luther next to a larger bonfire. Curiously, I arrived as my roommate excitedly waved a white piece of paper, and preached words I could not make out, from the place I sat perched. This papal bull. Those were the only words audible though the harsh wind, that forced the heat source to smoke and flicker. I supposed that paper was the bull. I, as everyone else knew what to receive a papal bull was, the dreaded excommunication. Personally (or birdly now I should say), I felt glad that Luther was classified as a heretic. Then Martin Luther burned the paper. Then, I realized how committed and certain this man seemed about his reformation. I, myself began to ponder and wonder if Luther’s writings were true. I watched and considered. Paying much attention to every church service, I realized how strikingly different the services are to traditional mass.
As I heard news of Luther at the Diet of Worms, I knew his reform was right. Fortunately, he was ‘’kidnapped,’’ supposedly by friends on the journey back, so I was not able to hear his own words of the encounter. I looked down. My feathers were changing, the bright ruby red of the European cardinal was fading. In its place came the light brown color of a sparrow. I felt my size get smaller. I knew I left my old mixed-up religions, selfish life behind and launched into the fresh life of being Martin Luther’s bird, and I would find him.