Gemma’s father is very sick. He stays in his bed and is unable to get up. The only thing soothes him is il concerto (the concert) of the birds outside his window. One bird’s song in particular rises above the others- that of a pure white bird whom Gemma names La Colomba. But it is getting colder now, and every day more birds leave the tree outside the window. Gemma begs them to stay, and hangs warm baskets on the trees and puts seeds out to keep the birds from leaving. But soon, only La Colomba is left. It is the end of January, and the winter is at its coldest. Despite the frigid weather, La Colomba stays and sings for Gemma’s father, only stopping to rest in the chimney where she can keep warm. In the morning, Gemma discovers that La Colomba has been turned black by the soot. She is no longer la Colomba, but La Merla (the blackbird). But the coldest day has passed, and with warmer weather La Merla’s singing Gemma’s father begins to get better. But La Merla remained black as soot, and now the last days of January are called Le Giornate della Merla, the Days of the blackbird.
Review by Hadley Ayers
Hadley Ayers was an exemplary employee at Exodus for several years. Full of life and laughter, she is an avid reader who loves both classics and popular literature. Her reviews are clear, helpful and often witty. Check more of them out here.
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