Lett's Set A Spell

The story of little robin redbreast
Mar. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

When visiting my alma mater, Broadway School, several times, I have spoken about the importance of reading and writing to students. While thinking about all the teachers and staff members who encouraged me to learn I remember a wonderful woman, Mattie Rosser, who served as librarian for many years. 

Mrs. Rosser loved to read to students, and our class would go to her sacred section of the school on special occasions for story time. Every Easter she told a touching tale of a little brown bird, a drab-colored robin, who was teased by pretty birds wearing bright feathers until he developed a red breast.

The story goes something like this ... the baby robin was happy even though other birds made fun of him. One day he saw Jesus kneeling and praying by a rock. When he looked into Jesus’ eyes, he felt like the warm sun was shining all around him. When he hopped next to Jesus’ heart, he felt it beating and experienced a serene swelling of emotion in his chest. The two became friends.

One day the robin discovered a beautiful garden where Jesus was talking about how the birds in the air are fed and the lilies of the fields grow without toil because His Heavenly Father provides for them. The robin joyfully found food there.

Another time the brown bird flew into the desert and heard Jesus asking a little boy for his meal, and he gave it to Jesus but said there wasn’t very much. As they broke the bread, the loaves multiplied and the fish became many so others gathered to partake of the plentiful food. The robin happily ate the crumbs. 

Later, the robin saw Jesus hanging on a cross and tried to pull the nails out of his hands and feet, but he was too small. He noticed a crown of thorns around Jesus’ head and with his little beak he was able to remove the one that dug the deepest in Jesus’ forehead. Drops of red blood fell on the little bird’s breast. A big bad man chased the little bloodstained bird away.

A few days later the robin found Jesus sitting in a garden wearing a robe as white as snow, and His wounds were only tiny scars shining like diamonds. Jesus thanked his faithful friend and called him Robin Redbreast because his chest was a bright and beautiful red. 

While talking about this story with Sue Cox, current librarian at Broadway School, she said this tale came from a book titled “Why the Robin Has a Red Breast,” written by Sister Mary Cleophas.

A poem at the front of the book summarizes the story: 

Robin Redbreast

They say that a robin

a plain little bird

flew to the cross as

soon as he heard

that Our Savior hung dying;

to pluck with its beak

the cruel nails

from the Master’s feet.

I envy you, robin,

For now you bear

a mark of His mercy

in the colors you wear.

Like a crimson banner

on your brave little chest

I’m glad to know you,

Robin Redbreast!

This precious robin reminds me of all the teachers, school staff, ministers, family and friends who give generously and unselfishly to help others. I think of Jesus who blesses even the tiniest bird with His unconditional love. 


AlexSandra Lett is a professional speaker and the author of “Natural Living, From Stress to Rest;” “A Timeless Place, Lett’s Set a Spell at the Country Store;” “Timeless Moons, Seasons of the Fields and Matters of the Heart;” “Timeless Recipes and Remedies, Country Cooking, Customs, and Cures;” and “Coming Home to my Country Heart, Timeless Reflections about Work, Family, Health, and Spirit.” Lett can be reached at (919) 258-9299 or LettsSetaSpell@aol.com.