Table of Contents: All Bedtime Stories
Listen to the Bedtime Story Be kind to the Night Birds, based around our arrangement of the Nursery Rhyme Mary Mary Quite Contrary. Here you can listen to excerpts of all stories (narrated by Peter Bradbury). You can read along with every story online on our website or you can download all story texts and soundtracks individually (MP3 + PDF). In addition, all 20 stories are available together as an illustrated eBook with audio included (our full package download).
Mary lived in a cottage. It was the last cottage on the edge of the village next to the forest where the wild flowers, trees, plants and bushes all grew.
Everyone knew Mary. Mary had a beautiful garden but Mary could be a little bit grumpy sometimes. Everyday people would pass Mary’s garden and ask Mary how she grew so many wonderful flowers and plants but Mary would just reply quickly and sharply: “I am far too busy to stop and talk and answer that question now, thank you.”
Mr Crust the baker walked past Mary’s garden every morning on his way to work and every morning he shouted in a cheery voice: “Good morning Mary, how does your garden grow so well?” and Mary would answer as normal: “I am far too busy to stop and talk and answer that question now, thank you.”
Mary liked her garden very much but she didn’t know why the plants grew so well. It was a mystery to Mary. She had lived in the cottage all of her life and the garden had always looked beautiful. Mary remembered that when she was a very small girl her Grandmother had told her: “Be kind to the night birds and they will be kind to you.” Mary did not know what it meant but she was always kind to the birds. She left food for them and in the wintertime she left water for them when the pond was frozen and the ground was covered in ice and snow.
One night when Mary could not get to sleep she was looking out of her window at the garden which she could see from the light of the moon. Mary was amazed at what she saw. There were ten birds of all different shapes and sizes which were going backwards and forwards from the wild forest and dropping seeds into her garden and digging the ground with their beaks.
“So that is what makes the garden grow,” Mary thought, “and that is how the birds are kind to me.” When Mary finally went to sleep that night she was very happy that she understood the mystery and she decided that she would try to be a little less grumpy from now on.
So the next morning Mr Crust passed Mary’s garden and he trumpeted cheerily as usual: “Good morning Mary, how does your garden grow so well?” And Mr Crust was very surprised to hear Mary’s reply: “Well, thank you Mr Crust, I am a little busy feeding these kind birds to answer that question right at the moment, but thank you anyway.”
“And another thing, Mr Crust,” continued Mary, “be sure to be kind to the birds, won’t you and they will be kind to you!”
Mary Mary quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row
And pretty maids all in a row
© 2015, written by Peter Bradbury