Once upon a time there was a Rather Ugly Birdhouse. It lived on a dark, forlorn patio, and every bird that inspected it turned away from its ugliness and instead chose to build its nest in some bright tree whose leaves whispered in the breeze and sunshine.
One day a Girl took pity on the Rather Ugly Birdhouse that no one wanted and carried it home with her. It found a new place to live on her bookshelf with a hedgehog named Norman and a bowl of moss and pine-cones and acorns.
The Girl let the Rather Ugly Birdhouse live there for some time, but whenever she looked at it she would shake her head and say ‘What drab, dingy colors. I do not like it at all.’
One day she took the birdhouse outside, and her kind father helped her to take away all the ugly paint and put a new, white, fresh coat of primer on it. The Rather Ugly Birdhouse felt so light and free. But the Girl still was not happy. ‘I don’t know what to do with it now,’ she lamented. ‘I don’t want it to be bright and flowery.’
But then the Girl had a happy thought, and she straightway set to drawing and scribbling madly in her sketch-book. ‘See!’ she said gladly. ‘A Hobbit-house! Not a hole, for you couldn’t be a hole if you tried. You’re too much of a house.
‘But never mind’, she said consolingly, ‘you will be beautiful.’
So she drew, and this is what she drew:
The Girl very carefully drew with pencil on the Birdhouse, and then spent a day and a half laboring with her paints. She had never painted anything before, and she was very surprised that it was not as easy as it looked. You couldn’t be careful and precise with a painbrush like you could with a pencil. She made mistakes, and erased them, then made more mistakes, and beamed gleefully for the joy of creating.
Finally her job was complete, and the Rather Ugly Birdhouse became this.
The Girl is very happy with it, and she calls it her Hobbit-Birdhouse. It’s living on the bookshelf again, but it’s oh so much prettier.
Someday the Girl will put it in her own garden and a bird will see it and claim it for its home, and it will become a Hobbit-bird living in the Hobbit-Birdhouse.