About the size of a quarter, the light sparkled and danced and bobbed and flashed within the space of a square foot or so. Seeing it brought to the bird a sense of happiness; the kind of happiness and freedom it felt in the spring when the plants broke from the earth in a carefree chorus of liberation. Watching it gave the little bird a temporary reprieve from its cold nest of hardened earth and icy snow and reminded it of warm rains and sweet air and dependable sunlight. The light took away its fear. As it watched the light, entertained by its dance in the middle of the cold night, it sensed another presence.
A wolf walked silently through the woods, watching the light, too, as if it was calling him by name. The bird tried to blend into the bush as much as it could. The wolf would be hungry on such a night. But as surely as birds migrate south for winter, as surely as light breaks through darkness, the wolf padded softly right over to where the little bird huddled. It lay down so closely to the bird that its black and gray fur touched the brown feathers. It, too, watched the dancing light, and through the long night the little bird was warmed by the heat of the wolf until it slept and regained its strength. As morning dawned and the sun broke through the sharp cold of the night, the wolf rose from its place of rest and trotted deeper into the woods.
And, after a snack of dried berries from the bush under which it had hidden, the little bird took flight.