The Crow's Nest





There was once in the world a poor man who had a wife and two children,

the elder a girl, the younger a boy. The poor man went out one day

ploughing with two wretched little oxen, his only property; his wife

remained at home to do the cooking. The girl, being the older of the two

children, was often sent out on short errands; upon the present

occasion, too, she was away from the house, her mother having sent her

out to borrow a peel, the dough for the bread being very nearly spoilt

for having been kept too long in the trough.



Availing herself of the girl's absence, the mother killed the poor

little boy and hid him in a pot of stewed cabbage. By the time that the

girl returned her dear little brother was half stewed. When the mess was

quite done, the woman poured it into a smaller pot, placed the small pot

into a sling, and sent the food by her daughter to her husband who was

in the field. The man liked the dish very much, and asked the girl:



"What kind of meat is this? It is very nice."



"I believe, dear father, mother had to kill a small lamb last night, and

no doubt she cooked it for you," replied the girl.



But somehow or other the girl learned the true state of things, and the

news nearly broke her heart. She immediately went back to the field,

gathered up the bones of her little brother, carefully wrapped them into

a beautiful piece of new white linen and took them into the nearest

forest, where she hid them in a hollow tree. Nobody can foretell what

will happen, and so it came to pass that the bones did not remain very

long in the hollow of the tree. Next spring a crow came and hatched

them, and they became exactly such a boy as they were before. The boy

would sometimes perch on the edge of the hollow, and sing to a beautiful

tune the following words:--





"My mother killed me,

"My father ate me,

"My sister gathered up my bones,

"She wrapped them in clean white linen,

"She placed them in a hollow tree,

"And now, behold, I'm a young crow."





Upon one occasion, just as he was singing this song, a man with a cloak

strolled by.



"Go on, my son," he said, "repeat that pretty song for me! I live in a

big village, and have travelled a good deal in my lifetime, but I have

never heard such a pretty song."



So the boy again commenced to sing:--





"My mother killed me,

"My father ate me,

"My sister gathered up my bones,

"She wrapped them in clean white linen,

"She placed them in a hollow tree,

"And now, behold, I'm a young crow."





The man with the cloak liked the song very much, and made the boy a

present of his cloak; Then a man with a crutch-stick hobbled by. "Well,

my boy," he said, "sing me that song again. I live in a big village,

have travelled far, but have never heard such a pretty tune." And the

boy again commenced to sing:--





"My mother killed me,

"My father ate me,

"My sister gathered up my bones,

"She wrapped them in clean white linen,

"She placed them in a hollow tree,

"And now behold I'm a young crow."





The man with the crutch-stick, too, liked the song immensely, and gave

the boy his crutch-stick. The next one to pass was a miller. He also

asked the boy to repeat the pretty tune, and as the boy complied with

his request the miller presented him with a millstone.



Then a sudden thought flashed across the boy's head and he flew to his

father's house, settled on the roof, and commenced to sing:--





"My mother killed me,

"My father ate me,

"My sister gathered up my bones,

"She wrapped them in clean white linen,

"She placed them in a hollow tree,

"And now behold I'm a young crow."





The woman was terrified, and said to her daughter, "Go and drive away

that bird, I don't like its croaking." The girl went out and tried to

drive away the bird, but instead of flying away the young crow continued

to sing the same song, and threw down the cloak to his sister. The girl

was much pleased with the present, ran into the house and exclaimed:

"Look here what a nice present that ugly bird has given to me!"



"Very nice indeed; very nice indeed. I will go out too," said her

father. So he went out, and the bird threw down to him the crutch-stick.

The old man was highly delighted with the gift; he was getting very

weak, and the crutch-stick came in useful to him as a support.



"Look here what a strong crutch-stick he has given to me! It will be a

great help to me in my old age."



Then his mother jumped up from behind the oven and said, "I must go out

too; if presents won't shower at least a few might drivel to me."



So she went out and looked up to the roof, and the boy gave her a

present for which she had not bargained. He threw the millstone at her,

which killed her on the spot.



Thus far goes our tale. Here it ends.





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