' IT 'S QUITE TRUE ! ' 441
I can that the story may get into the papers, and then it will be spread over all the country, and that will serve those fowls right, and their families too.'
It was put into the newspaper : it was printed ; and it's quite trueŚthat one little feather may swell till it becomes five fowls.
THE SWAN'S NEST
Between the Baltic and the North Sea there lies an old swan's nest, and it is called Denmark, wherein swans are born and have been born whose names shall never die.
In olden times a flock of swans flew over the Alps to the green plains around Milan, where it was delightful to dwell: this flight of swans men called the Lombards.
Another flock, with shining plumage and honest eyes, soared southward to Byzantium ; the swans established themselves there close by the Emperor's throne, and spread their great white wings over him as shields to protect him. They received the name of Varangians.
On the coast of France there sounded a cry of fear, for the blood-stained swans that came from the North with fire under their wings ; and the people prayed, ' Heaven deliver us from the wild Northmen.'
On the fresh sward of England stood the Danish swan by the open sea-shore, with the crown of three kingdoms on his head ; and he stretched out his golden sceptre over the land. The heathens on the Pomeranian coast bent the knee, and the Danish swans came with the banner of the Cross and with the drawn sword.
' That was in the very old times,' you say.
In later days two mighty swans have been seen to fly from the nest. A light shone far through the air, far over the lands of the earth ; the swan, with the strong beating of his wings, scattered the twilight mists, and the starry sky was more clearly seen, and it was as if it came nearer to the earth. That was the swan Tycho Brahi.
1 Yes, at that time,' you say ; ' but in our own days ? '
We have seen swan after swan soar by in glorious flight.