The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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THE STORKS                             171
Stork, stork, fly away;
Go and stay at home to-day. Your wife is lying in the nest,
With four young beneath her breast.
The first he will be hanged,
The second will bo banged, The third he will be burned,
And the fourth one will be turned Outside in !
' Just hear what those boys are singing ! ' said the little Stork-children. ' They say we're to be hanged and burned.'
1 You're not to care for that! ' said the Mother-Stork. 1 Don't listen to it, and then it won't matter.'
But the boys went on singing, and pointed at the Storks mockingly with their fingers ; only one boy, whose name was Peter, declared that it was a sin to make jest of animals, and he would not join in it at all.
The Mother-Stork comforted her 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.
Now to-day, when the children came out again to play, and saw the Storks, they sang their song :
The first he will be hanged, The second will be banged------■
' Shall we be hanged and burned ? ' asked the young Storks.
' No, certainly not,' replied the mother. ' You shall learn to fly; I'll exercise you ; then we shall fly out into the meadows and pay a visit to the frogs ; they will bow before us in the water, and sing " Co-ax ! co-ax ! " and then we shall eat them up. That will be a real pleasure.'
' And what then ? ' asked the young Storks.
1 Then all the Storks will assemble, all that are here in the whole country, and the autumn exercises begin : then one must fly well, for that is highly important, for whoever cannot fly properly will be thrust dead by the general's beak ; so take care and learn well when the exercising begins.'