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安徒生童话:The Storks

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the Storks

by Hans Christian Andersen(1838)

  ON the last house in a little village the storks had built a nest, and the mother stork sat in it with her four young ones, who stretched out their necks and pointed their black beaks, which had not yet turned red like those of the parent birds. A little way off, on the edge of the roof, stood the father stork, quite upright and stiff; not liking to be quite idle, he drew up one leg, and stood on the other, so still that it seemed almost as if he were carved in wood. “It must look very grand,” thought he, “for my wife to have a sentry guarding her nest. They do not know that I am her husband; they will think I have been commanded to stand here, which is quite aristocratic;” and so he continued standing on one leg.

  In the street below were a number of children at play, and when they caught sight of the storks, one of the boldest amongst the boys began to sing a song about them, and very soon he was joined by the rest. These are the words of the song, but each only sang what he could remember of them in his own way.

  “Stork, stork, fly away,Stand not on one leg, I pray,See your wife is in her nest,With her little ones at rest. they will hang one,And fry another;They will shoot a third,And roast his brother.”

  “Just hear what those boys are singing,” said the young storks; “they say we shall be hanged and roasted.”

  “Never mind what they say; you need not listen,” said the mother. “They can do no harm.”

  But the boys went on singing and pointing at the storks, and mocking at them, excepting one of the boys whose name was Peter; he said it was a shame to make fun of animals, and would not join with them at all. The mother stork comforted her young ones, and told them not to mind. “See,” she said, “How quiet your father stands, although he is only on one leg.”

  “But we are very much frightened,” said the young storks, and they drew back their heads into the nests.

  the next day when the children were playing together, and saw the storks, they sang the song again—

  “they will hang one,And roast another.”

  “Shall we be hanged and roasted?” asked the young storks.

  “No, certainly not,” said the mother. “I will teach you to fly, and when you have learnt, we will fly into the meadows, and pay a visit to the frogs, who will bow themselves to us in the water, and cry 'Croak, croak,' and then we shall eat them up; that will be fun.”

  “And what next?” asked the young storks.

  “then,” replied the mother, “all the storks in the country will assemble together, and go through their autumn manoeuvres, so that it is very important for every one to know how to fly properly. If they do not, the general will thrust them through with his beak, and kill them. Therefore you must take pains and learn, so as to be ready when the drilling begins.”

  “then we may be killed after all, as the boys say; and hark! they are singing again.”

  “Listen to me, and not to them,” said the mother stork. “After the GREat review is over, we shall fly away to warm countries far from hence, where there are mountains and forests. To Egypt, where we shall see three-cornered houses built of stone, with pointed tops that reach nearly to the clouds. They are called Pyramids, and are older than a stork could imagine; and in that country, there is a river that overflows its banks, and then goes back, leaving nothing but mire; there we can walk about, and eat frogs in abundance.”

  “Oh, o—h!” cried the young storks.

  “Yes, it is a delightful place; there is nothing to do all day long but eat, and while we are so well off out there, in this country there will not be a single GREen leaf on the trees, and the weather will be so cold that the clouds will freeze, and fall on the earth in little white rags.” The stork meant snow, but she could not explain it in any other way.



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