Smudge is old now. But he has many stories to tell, and this is one of them. Long ago, before his tail became stiff like a broom handle, when Smudge was just a baby, he was spirited away from his sunny garden by a big bird who carried him back to her nest. Just as he was beginning to feel at home with the bird family, they flew away, leaving him all alone. That's only the beginning of the extraordinary adventures in store for Smudge, a hapless but wonderfully adaptable hero who relates his youthful odyssey with deliciously dry wit.