Princess Rosie skipped around her yard, picking buttercups, Joey Owl watching from the lowest branch of the pear tree near the palace garden. When she skipped to the other side of the garden, he followed, landing in the peach tree nearby.
When she got tired of skipping and settled down a little he would land on her shoulder.
He noticed that since he and Princess Rosie had become such close friends that Lady Crystal had sewn special pads in the shoulders of all Princess Rosie's dresses and blouses and sweaters. Joey Owl had very sharp toenails, called talons that helped him hold onto tree branches, and perch, (owl language for sit) on them. But as helpful as his talons were, they could scratch Princess Rosie's tender skin, so Lady Crystal helped them out.
Lady Crystal, Princess Rosie's grandmother, was a well-respected seamstress in Rosieland. She made all of Princess Rosie's most beautiful dresses, as well as her bed linens, and curtains.
Joey Owl loved Lady Crystal too, because she always knew to scratch his neck all the way around as he perched on Princess Rosie's shoulder. Joey Owl loved Lady Crystal almost as much as his own grandmother, who never failed to show up with a juicy worm or two for her little owlet grandson.
"Oh no!" Princess Rosie's wail ended Joey Owl's thoughts of juicy worms.
He flew down to her shoulder, as she knelt and began picking up a little bird, a sparrow; its little wing all crooked and broken. Joey Owl stayed on Princess Rosie's shoulder as she stood up and made for the palace, the little hurt bird chirping in panic in her gentle hands.
"There is a place in the kingdom, Princess Rosie, like a bird hospital. It's called the Audubon Society. If your Mommy and Daddy take the bird there, they will help it, then let it go back into the forest when it's well."
Princess Rosie ran into the palace, Joey Owl still on her shoulder, and told her Mommy about the Audubon Society as Mommy looked at the bird sheltered in Princess Rosie's little hands.
"Shh, shh, little bird, Princess Rosie and her mommy are going to help you," Joey Owl hooted softly, calming the bird who stopped its frightened cheeping and relaxed in Princess Rosie's hands as her mommy lifted her into her car seat and strapped her in.
Queen Mommy drove to the Audubon Society with directions from Princess Rosie who translated for Joey Owl. Joey Owl flew out in front of the car to make sure Queen Mommy knew where she was going in case the directions were confusing.
Inside the building, Princess Rosie handed the tiny bird to a lady who promised to help. Joey Owl hooted softly to the bird that he should stay calm, the humans meant no harm and would fix him up good as new.
"That's a very special friend you have there, Princess Rosie," the Audubon lady, whose name was Dame Robin, said, stroking Joey Owl very gently as he sat on Princess Rosie's shoulder.
"Joey Owl is my best friend," Princess Rosie said. "He lives in the woods near the palace and we play together every day."
"He must love you very much to come out and play in the daytime. Owls are nocturnal. That means they sleep in the daytime and are awake all night."
"Yes. He eats worms for breakfast as the sun starts to go down."
Dame Robin nodded, smiling as Princess Rosie twisted her face in horror at the thought of eating worms. Ick.
"You seem to have a good understanding of your friend," Dame Robin said.
"Joey Owl tells me all sorts of things," Princess Rosie said as Dame Robin followed them to the door. She watched Queen Mommy place Princess Rosie in her car seat, with Joey Owl still on her shoulder.
When the car began to back out of the Audubon Society's driveway, Joey Owl flew out the window and began to lead Queen Mommy safely back to the palace.
Almost two weeks later Princess Rosie skipped about the palace grounds again, gathering up some more buttercups for Queen Mommy, and a little sparrow landed on her shoulder. Joey Owl landed on the opposite shoulder a moment later, as the sparrow pecked a little kiss on Princess Rosie's cheek, then flew up into the trees, chirping happily.
"Dame Robin is another special friend," Joey Owl said. "She helps feathered friends who are in trouble. Like the little sparrow, who is good as new, just as Dame Robin promised."
And the little sparrow chirped happily, sitting on the edge of his nest as the baby birds waited for their mommy to bring them lunch.
Princess Rosie took her buttercups to Queen Mommy and told her that the sparrow was back, all better, and would live in the palace apple tree happily ever after.