I told this story to Malachi before his nap today. It's been altered only slightly.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there lived a prince named Malachi. Prince Malachi was a handsome prince who tried to obey his daddy and mommy, the King and Queen, and do what they told him to do.
One day Prince Malachi was walking in the woods when he looked up and saw the most beautiful bird he had ever seen flying high in the sky. The bird was redder than the reddest apple and so shiny that when the sunlight hit it, it looked like its wings were made of thousands of sparkling rubies.
Prince Malachi thought the red bird was so lovely that he wanted to be friends with it. So he watched to see which tree the bird landed in, walked to that tree and looked up into the branches. He couldn’t see the red bird so he called up and asked the bird if they could be friends.
“Yes,” said the bird, “but you must climb up here to my home if you want to be my friend.”
Prince Malachi really wanted to be the red bird’s friend so he got ready to climb the tree. But the tree was too tall! He couldn’t even reach the bottom branch. Prince Malachi jumped and jumped as high as he could, but the branch was still too high. Prince Malachi grabbed hold of the trunk of the tree and hoisted himself up and managed to get his fingers around the branch, but then he slipped and fell down to the ground.
As Prince Malachi lay on the ground he knew that he could never be the red bird’s friend because he couldn’t climb the tree to get to the bird’s home. And he was sad because he so wanted the bird to be his friend. But then he heard a sound like fluttering wings. He looked up and saw the big, shining, red bird sitting on the forest floor next to him.
“I want to be your friend, too, Malachi,” the bird said. And then the red bird gently lifted Prince Malachi in his beak and flew up, up to the top branch of the tree which was his home.
Prince Malachi was so happy! Now he and the bird could be friends! And Prince Malachi knew that if it had been up to him and his own strength then he could never have been friends with the beautiful, red bird. Prince Malachi loved the red bird and the red bird loved Prince Malachi. And they were friends for ever and ever.