The middle of the toad #3

I left my copy of ‘Out of the Silent Planet’ at home.  I have all the Narnia books in my work locker, along with ‘Micah Clarke’ by Arthur Conan Doyle. 

But I have decided to copy from a slim volume of stories. Several years ago, there was once a charity shop I used to visit on a regular basis, and they had a large collection of ‘The Brodie Books’.  

I had the childish intention of collecting these little books. I picked up a copy of ‘The Snow Queen and Other Stories by Hans Anderson’.

My collection of ‘The Brodie Books’ never made it off the ground. If I do find myself collecting more, I’d be most interested in getting my grubby paws on three in particular: 

King Arthur and his Knights, The Pilgrim’s Progress (Part I. Christian’s Journey), and A Child’s Book of Chaucer. 

I am going to copy from a story called ‘The Storks’ until my coffee break is over, which will be very soon.

‘ON the last house in a little village stood a stork’s nest. The mother stork sat in it with her four young ones, who stretched out their heads with the pointed black beaks, for their beaks had not yet turned red. A little way off stood the father stork, all alone, on the ridge of the roof, quite upright and stiff; he had drawn up one of his legs, so as not to be quite idle while he stood sentry. One would have thought he had been carved out of wood, so still did he stand. He thought—”It must look very grand, that my wife had a sentry standing by her nest. They can’t tell that it is her husband. They certainly think I have been commanded to stand here. That looks do aristocratic!” and he went on standing on one leg. 

Below in the street a whole crowd of children were playing; and when they caught sight of the storks, one of the boldest boys, and afterwards all of them, sang the old verse about the storks. But they only sang it just as he could remember it:—

Stork, stork, fly away; 

Stand not on one leg to-day. 

Thy dear wife is in the nest, 

Where she rocks her young to rest. 

The first he will be hanged, 

The second will be hit;

The third shall be shot, 

And the fourth put on the spit. 

“Just hear what those boys are saying,” said the little stork-children. “They say we’re to be hanged and killed.”

“You’re not to care for that!” said the mother stork. “Don’t listen to it, and then it won’t matter.” 

But the boys went on singing, and pointed at the stork mockingly with their fingers; only one boy, whose name was Peter, declared that it was a sin to make a jest of animals, and he would not join in at all. 

The mother stork confronted the children. “Don’t you mind it at all,” she said; “see how quiet your father stands, though it’s only on one leg.”

“We are very much afraid,” said the young storks; and they drew their heads far back into the nest. 

Break time is nearly over,  the whole story can be found here:

‘The Storks was written by Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), and was translated from the Danish by M. R. James (1862-1936) as part of his Hans Andersen Forty-Two Stories (1930).’

The translation is by M. R. James, and is a little bit different from what I was copying out. For example: 

‘A pack of children were playing down below in the street, and when they saw the storks, one of the cheekiest of the boys, and then all the rest of them, began to sing the old rhyme about the storks–that is, they sang what they could remember of it:

Stork, Stork, Stone,
Fly home to your own,
Your wife’s on her nest
With four fat young ‘uns,
The first’ll be hanged by the neck,
The second’ll be stuck,
The third’ll be burned,
The fourth’ll be overturned.’

Before I go, the verse of the Bible I have read most recently is: 

‘But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.’—Hebrews 5:14 

I will try to remember to pack ‘Out of the Silent Planet’ into my rucksack for work tomorrow night. 

That’ll do. 

(Forgive any strange typos, this was typed out via a mobile device with a mischievous predictive inclination to change nest to best, grass to glass and road to toad. ) 


Your email address will not be published.