"A White Heron" is a short story written by Sarah Orne Jewett. The story tells of a young girl who lives in the country with her grandmother. She is a lonely girl who passes her time by playing outside. Her cow Miss Moolly is her only companion. Each day she plays games like hide-and-go-seek with Miss Molly. As the sun goes down she reluctantly walks home. .
When Sylvia gets home that night she is surprised. Sylvia's grandmother, Mrs. Tilley allowed a young gentleman to stay the night at their home. The gentleman was a hunter. Sylvia soon finds out that she has a secret she must keep from this stranger. He was telling Mrs. Tilley about his adventures. He mentioned the sightings of a beautiful bird. "You would know the heron if you saw it, a queer tall white bird with soft feathers and long thin legs. And it would have a nest perhaps in the top of a high tree, made of sticks, something like a hawk's nest." (pg.123) The man described the characteristics of the bird in hopes that the young girl would have been recognized the description and revealed the heron's hiding place. He goes on desperately, "I can't think of anything I should like so much as to find that heron's nest, I would give ten dollars to anybody who could show it to me." Then he said, "I mean to spend my whole vacation hunting for it if need be. Perhaps it's only migrating, or chased out of it's own region by some bird of prey."(pg. 123) The man's relentless plea for help was obviously meant for Sylvia's ears. .
Sylvia is well aware of the bird's existence. Yet, she also understands the consequences of divulging her secret to this visitor. Sylvia is torn between two possible outcomes. .
If she chose to lead the hunter to it's prey, the girl and her grandmother would be rewarded with money. The story gives the reader the impression that this small family is not wealthy. More accurately, it seems to be quite the opposite. The offered amount of ten dollars doesn't sound enticing in this day and age.