Short Story #39: Our Feathered Friends by Philip MacDonald

Title:  Our Feathered Friends

Author:  Philip MacDonald

Short Story #39 out of 365

Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)

Book cover:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur
Date Read:  2/5/2014
Source:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.


Two lovers, Jack and Vi find themselves a bit lost in the countryside one afternoon.  As they sit in the hot sun, Vi suggests they go into the woods.  Jack follows and continues to follow as something draws Vi deeper and deeper into the woods.  Once in there, she pauses and commands Jack to listen.  The sound of the birds excites her as these two are from the city.  The birdsong is strangely engrossing and hitting both of them in different ways.  Eventually, only one bird is singing and the two listen with awe until there is complete silence in the forest.  However, the next thing the two realize is that there is a circle of birds about them.  The circle slowly shrinks and the bird that sang before begins to sing again as the birds tear them apart.


There's an element to this story that is reminiscent of "The Birds" by Daphne Du Maurier.  However, MacDonald wrote this in 1931 whereas Du Maurier's was written in 1952.  The story itself did not excite me.  It moved a bit slow and there wasn't much attachment to the two characters.  However, there were a few larger themes that I did appreciate.  It's interesting to see that as early as 1930s, the theme of the city folk going to the countryside and being devastated by nature present.  It makes me wonder when this theme first became popular.  The birds and their seduction also reminds me in part of Odysseus and the sirens.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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