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Sunday, March 04, 2012

Don't Kill the Little Birds

I'm at home today and missing church due to a cold, so thought I'd post a quick message from Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985), who was a Mormon apostle and prophet.  This is from a message he gave in the April 1978 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In talking about the church songs he used to sing in church as a child in Arizona in the early 20th Century, he stated:

One of the songs...was number 163, “Don’t Kill the Little Birds,” and I remember many times singing with a loud voice:

Don’t kill the little birds,
That sing on bush and tree,
All thro’ the summer days,
Their sweetest melody.
Don’t shoot the little birds!
The earth is God’s estate,
And he provideth food
For small as well as great.
(Deseret Songs, 1909, no. 163.)

I had a sling and I had a flipper. I made them myself, and they worked very well. It was my duty to walk the cows to the pasture a mile away from home. There were large cottonwood trees lining the road, and I remember that it was quite a temptation to shoot the little birds “that sing on bush and tree,” because I was a pretty good shot and I could hit a post at fifty yards’ distance or I could hit the trunk of a tree. But I think perhaps because I sang nearly every Sunday, “Don’t Kill the Little Birds,” I was restrained. The second verse goes:

Don’t kill the little birds
Their plumage wings the air,
Their trill at early morn
Makes music ev’ry-where.
What tho’ the cherries fall
Half eaten from the stem?
And berries disappear,
In garden, field, and glen?

This made a real impression on me, so I could see no great fun in having a beautiful little bird fall at my feet.

(Music to this song is available online, as well as more info including additional verses)


Unknown said...

Interesting post there Bro. Fergus. I had no idea about that from Pres. Kimball. I was just a little boy when he passed away, but I clearly remember my mom telling me about it.

Gene Vermillion said...

A very nice post. Thanks for sharing.

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