It was barely after dawn when Tiny stepped outside to say good morning to the world. The sun yawned, the earth dozed, and the trees stretched themselves awake. Through the stillness, a ribbon of sound spiraled through the air, and kissed Tiny on the ear. It was music—not the joyful twitters of the neighborhood birds, but the bright and brassy herald of a trumpet. Tiny felt a thrill. She followed the sound as it snaked through the streets, over Orange Blossom Lane, and into Madam Orly’s garden, where an elegant purple-martin house stood.
The music was coming from inside—a lively, jazzy sound, peppered by the rich melodic voice of a songbird. Tiny bubbled with excitement.
“Need a ride, Tiny? Hop on.” Tiny turned to see Constance Goldfinch by her side.
“What’s happening in there?” asked Tiny, clambering onto her friend’s back for the short journey up to the house.
“Nightingale Bailey and the Willow Warblers are live at the Purple Palace,” chirped Constance. “It’s the talk of the town!”
A woodpecker stood at the house entrance, watching the birds as they fluttered inside.
“Mornin’ Tiny,” trilled the woodpecker, consulting the notches on the wall. “Looks like you’re on the guest-list. In you go.”
Tiny’s cheeks flushed with an unexpected pride, and Constance gave her a wink.
“Ooh, they’re playing my favorite, Booby’s Got the Blues. Catch you later!” And Constance disappeared into the crowd, leaving Tiny slack-jawed in the foyer.
The house—appearing so small from outside—had a cavernous interior. At the far side stood a stage, where an exquisite bird sang like an angel. Below, a flock of warm feathers hopped and swayed on the dancefloor. The party was in full swing. Tiny shook her hips, waved her arms. Joy radiated through her body. She closed her eyes, and sank into the music.
One by one, the birds flew back to their nests. It was time to leave. Tiny wandered home, smiling at the memory of her morning. As she reached Madam Orly’s gate, she turned to look at the house. The Purple Palace was quiet and empty, a birdhouse like any other. She shimmied her shoulders one last time—she couldn’t think of a finer way to start the day.