c But then we shall be killed, as the boys say :—and only listen, now they're singing again.'
' Listen to me, and not to them,' said the Mother-Stork. c After the great review we shall fly away to the warm countries, far away from here, over mountains and forests. We shall fly to Egypt, where there are three-cornered houses of stone, which run up to a point and tower above the clouds ; they are called pyramids, and are older than a stork can imagine. There is a river in that country which runs out of its bed, and then all the land is turned to mud. One walks about in the mud, and eats frogs.'
' Oh ! ' cried all the young ones.
' Yes ! It is glorious there ! One does nothing all day long but eat; and while we are so comfortable over there, here there is not a green leaf on the trees ; here it is so cold that the clouds freeze to pieces, and fall down in little white rags ! '
It was the snow that she meant, but she could not explain it in any other way.
* And do the naughty boys freeze to pieces ? ' asked the young Storks.
' No, they do not freeze to pieces ; but they are not far from it, and must sit in the dark room and cower. You, on the other hand, can fly about in foreign lands, where there are flowers, and the sun shines warm.'
Now some time had elapsed, and the nestlings had grown so large that they could stand upright in the nest and look far around ; and the Father-Stork came every day with delicious frogs, little snakes, and all kinds of stork-dainties as he found them. Oh ! it looked funny when he performed feats before them! He laid his head quite back upon his tail, and clapped with his beak as if it had been a little clapper; and then he told them stories, all about the marshes.
' Listen ! now you must learn to fly,' said the Mother-Stork one day ; and all the four young ones had to go out on the ridge of the roof. Oh, how they tottered ! how they balanced themselves with their wings, and yet they were nearly falling down.
' Only look at me,' said the mother. c Thus you must hold your heads ! Thus you must pitch your feet! One. two ! one, two ! That's what will help you on in the world.'