The birds were a certain sign of autumn. They came to us every year. They sang for us their beautiful song. And then we ate them.
It was a feast. It was a festival. It was a song, and dance, and beauty and life. It was the most delicious meal of all the year. And then they came no more.
The world turned into winter. But this time, it did not return to spring.
When there was no spring, there was no summer. When there was no summer, no autumn could follow. The birds no longer came.
The world was cold. Sometimes it even snowed. The world was getting darker by the day.
I had heard when I was young that way up north somewhere, where the birds would spend their summer, I had heard that it was dark there all the winter long. I had heard, but not believed it. Not believed a word.
How could it be dark somewhere all the winter long? How could the sun not rise? Not shine its light?
It had to be a story, that is all. Just a story told to frighten little children, that is all. It must have been, I thought. It must have been.
But now I could believe it well. I could believe the sky was dark all the winter long, for now I saw it myself. I saw it with my own eyes.
The sun, it did not rise. Or if it did, the sun was dark. As dark as all the sky. And the birds they did not come.
They say we ate too many. We ate too many birds. We ate the last of them. And that is why the sky was dark, why spring no longer came.
There were no more birds to fly up north again. No birds to tell the sun that it was spring. And so the winter lasted. And so the winter spread, the darkness came.
The sun stopped rising. The sky was black. As black as midnight all the day. Except there was no moon. No stars.
No moon no stars either night or day. We’d lost the moon as well. And we had lost the stars.
They say when the sun stopped rising, the moon and the stars stayed with her where she was. They did not want to leave her. They did not want to come here on their own.
They too would have needed the birds to sing to signal evening. There were no birds could sing.
They say we ate the last of them. They say we ate them all.
They say we were too greedy. Too hungry for their flesh. Too desirous of the pleasure of the song, the dance, the eating of the meal.
Oh I remember. I remember how it was when the birds still came. I remember how we ate then.
Their meat was so delicious. It melted on my tongue. And I admit my guilt. I do.
I admit that I was greedy. I admit that I was hungry. I always wanted more. They were so good! So tasty.
And then they came no more.
And when they came no more the world was dark.
And when they came no more, the sun, she would not rise. The moon, the stars were gone.
And when they came no more, so soon we had so little of anything at all to eat. For the sun, she would not help a thing to grow. She did not know that it was time to rise to warm the world. She did not know that it was spring without the birds to tell her. She did not know when it was morning. She simply did not know.
And I am sorry. I’m so sorry! I did not know!!!
I did not mean to eat too much. I did not mean to eat the last one of the birds. I didn’t! I swear that I did not.
No one meant for this to happen. No one meant to eat quite all the birds. Not the last of them. Not the one whose job it was to tell the sun to rise that it was spring!
We did not mean to. And yet we did.
When they came no more the world was winter. And soon, like this, and soon, we will be no more. We all of us starve to death.
And I am sorry. So sorry for what I’ve done.
I ate too many birds I ate the one.