Monday, March 23, 2015

Little fantail

Twice yesterday afternoon a little fantail flew into the house and fluttered round and round, occasionally perching, before desperately trying to find its way outside again.  Between visits it sat on a cane chair beside my front door and looked in at me.

Generally I am not a superstitious person.  I don't worry about breaking a mirror, walking under ladders or black cats across my path.  But when that little bird sat there on the chair looking in at me I was properly freaked out I can tell you.  They are such lively little bird, I've never seen one just sitting before. 

It went away for a while then I heard its little cheek, cheeks from back inside.

In Maori mythology, the fantail is a messenger, bringing death or news of death from the gods to the people.  The maori say a fantail inside the house means someone has died and has come to say goodbye.  I've read that they are not to be feared but welcomed as their presence gives us time to prepare ourselves for a death.  

I remember when I first came to New Zealand an old maori lady who lived close by took it upon herself to educate me in local ways.  I was a keen listener and loved hearing about her legends and superstitions.  And, believe me, there are many.  Old Rosie is long gone but her words are still ringing in my ears.

She told me about the fantail but I've never had one come into the house before.  There are a couple of places on the farm where there are many of them.  Georgia and I used to visit them when she was a little girl.  We liked to sit and watch them flitting around catching insects.  They are delightful little birds.  When I see them around the house they are around the trees at the northern end of the house. I see them more when the cows are in nearby paddocks.  They like to accompany the cows and catch the little insects and bugs that the cows disturb.

With the superstition on my mind, wondering if someone close to me really is about to depart this world, I stood and took in the sunset last night.  I imagine I saw a magnificent angel in those clouds, reminds me of childhood images of the Archangel Gabriel.  Doesn't the Archangel Gabriel inspire artits and communicators, helping them to overcome fear and procrastination?

Now I've given myself a good chuckle.  The saints of my youth appearing to chase away the myth of my adopted country.  There's a message there somewhere.  I'm just too confused to hear it right now.


Now I've given myself a good chuckle.  The saints of my youth appearing to chase away the myth of my adopted country.  There's a message there somewhere.  I'm just too confused to hear it right now. 


  1. Old Rosie may be right and the bird tried to tell you of someone's death, but I think he's got the wrong house :))
    It's a pretty one sitting on the basket handle.
    And the sunset with feathery pink clouds is just gorgeous!
    Have a beautiful day

  2. You were very wise to listen to old Rosie. There are many truths she would have that would explain things to us.

  3. Well, i hope it simply meant the little guy was confused that he kept getting in the house. Lovely pictures of him and the clouds.

  4. What a lovely bird. I'm not sure about "legends" like that though. Those clouds were so lovely. Peace to your house.

  5. I wonder how that cute little bird came to be burdened with such a legend. (But I suppose for someone somewhere it might have seemed like a comfort rather than an omen.) Clouds can certainly take on awe-inspiring shapes sometimes and who's to say there are no angels involved... ;) Hope all is well!

  6. love the sunset image Pauline. My grandmother used to tell me superstitions too.

  7. Well I've learned something today Pauline. I didn't know that legend. I'm rather glad really because the Fantails used to come into The Cottage very regularly. They were amazing. They never flew into a closed window or ranch slider and would happily sit on a chair at the table whilst I was having breakfast or fly past me in a doorway. They are without doubt my favourite New Zealand bird.

  8. Lovely images of the Fantail, Pauline!
    I've never heard of those stories but I do know that the Maoris, like our Aboriginals, have many legends/stories, etc to explain life.
    It's great to know you are still well, even after your little visitor! :)

  9. I just had a fantail fly inside chirping away,. totally freaked me out as I was Al!Aye told it was associated with death , not feeling fun anymore


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