The afternoon heat was searing. Tiny stood in the rock garden and heard the impatiens sigh. A sun-drunk bee drifted aimlessly, and even the spider stifled a yawn. The air was humming with an electric energy. Tiny felt like she was floating in a bubble of golden light—soaring high into the cotton-wool clouds until—pop! A drop of rain brought her back to earth. Two, three, four drops sploshed around her, hissing on the steaming path.
Tiny turned her face to the sky, closed her eyes, and felt the delicious sparkles of rain cool her glowing cheeks. The sprinkle turned into a shower, which became a deluge. Tiny squealed, and ran to the shelter of the burning-bush, where she heard the faintest cry.
“Pippity, pip!” came an urgent chirp. “Pippity, pip pip!” Tiny turned to see Ruby Hummingbird hovering overhead, and pointing with her beak. It sounded like she was in trouble. Tiny followed the little bird deeper into the hedge, stumbling over twigs and leaves, until she let out a shriek of horror. Ruby’s nest was destroyed, and her two tiny eggs—delicate as pearls—teetered on a strand of thistle down.
“Oh no!” Tiny cried, “your eggs!”
“Pippity pip!” shrieked Ruby.
The rain grew as heavy as steel needles. The cogs in Tiny’s mind started to spin. She would need help to rebuild Ruby’s nest before the rain washed the eggs away.
She spotted bee and spider sheltering from the rain. “Bertrand! Sylvie! Come quickly!” Sylvie scuttled across the undergrowth, as Bertrand made a sharp swerve around the goldenrod. “Ruby needs our help rebuilding her nest!” Bertrand wiggled his antennae, and Sylvie raised leg no:3. The hastily assembled team got to work.
As Tiny helped Ruby patch the nest with lichen scraped from the rock garden, the spider span her silk, and Bertrand attached globs of sticky pine tar. Within minutes the beautiful nest was complete. But one thing was missing—a roof. Tiny added the finishing touch, a lambs-ear leaf for a rain hood. The nest was perfect, and the eggs were safe. Ruby sat in her new home, and fluffed her feathers in delight.
The rain slowed to a drip. In the quiet of the moment, Tiny heard a muffed crack from the nest. She beamed. They were about to receive a new visitor.