The hunch

The birds were dying, and nobody knew why.

They were tiny things, small as the uppermost joint of your little finger, and bright: a king of old, having frightened a flock from his palace guttering, hanged a mage for wizarding away his jewels, so convincing were their emerald breasts and ruby bellies. They were too fast to catch and, when they weren’t fast enough, too bony to eat. Nobody knew why they were dying.

In desperation, someone thought of moving them from the coast to a quiet wood six miles inland. And the birds stopped dying, and nobody knew why.

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