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The Heron


Source: Welsh Folk-lore

The heron as it flies slowly towards the source of a river is said to be
going up the river to bring the water down, in other words, this flight
is a sign of coming rain. The same thing is said of the crane.

Fable of why the Heron frequents the banks of rivers and lakes.

It is from thirty to forty years ago that I heard the fable I am about to
relate, and the circumstances under which I heard it are briefly as
follows. I was walking towards Bangor from Llanllechid, when I saw a
farmer at work hedging. I stopped to chat with him, and a bramble which
had fastened itself on his trousers gave him a little trouble to get it
away, and the man in a pet said, Have I not paid thee thy tithe? Why
do you say those words, Enoch? said I, and he said, Have you not heard
the story? I confessed my ignorance, and after many preliminary
remarks, the farmer related the following fable:--

The heron, the cat, and the bramble bought the tithe of a certain parish.
The heron bought the hay, mowed it, harvested it, and cocked it, and
intended carrying it the following day, but in the night a storm came on,
and carried the hay away, and ever since then the heron frequents the
banks of the rivers and lakes, looking for her hay that was carried away,
and saying Pay me my tithe.

The cat bought the oats, cut them, and even threshed them, and left them
in the barn, intending the following day to take them to the market for
sale. But when she went into the barn, early the next morning, she found
the floor covered with rats and mice, which had devoured the oats, and
the cat flew at them and fought with them, and drove them from the barn,
and this is why she is at enmity with rats and mice even to our day.

The bramble bought the wheat, and was more fortunate than the heron and
cat, for the wheat was bagged, and taken to the market and sold, but sold
on trust, and the bramble never got the money, and this is why it takes
hold of everyone and says Pay me my tithe, for it forgot to whom the
wheat had been sold.

Next: The Jackdaw

Previous: Putting Hens To Sit

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