648 WALDEMAR DAA AND HIS DAUGHTERS
for mercy for the little things, and tears came into her eyes. Therefore the tree with the black stork's nest was left standing. The tree was not worth speaking of
* There was a great hewing and sawing, and a three-decker was built. The architect was of low origin, but of great pride ; his eyes and forehead told how clever he was, and Waldemar Daa was fond of listening to him, and so was Waldemar's daughter Ida, the eldest, who was now fifteen years old ; and while he built a ship for the father, he was building for himself a castle in the air, into which he and Ida were to go as a married couple—which might indeed have happened, if the castle had been of stone walls, and ramparts, and moats with forest and garden. But in spite of his wise head, the architect remained but a poor bird ; and, indeed, what business has a sparrow to take part in a dance of cranes ? Huh—sh ! I careered away, and he careered away too, for he was not allowed to stay ; and little Ida got over it, because she was obliged to get over it.
' The proud black horses were neighing in the stable ; they were worth looking at, and they were looked at. The admiral, who had been sent by the King himself to inspect the new ship and take measures for its purchase, spoke loudly in admiration of the beautiful horses.
' I heard all that/ said the Wind. * I accompanied the gentlemen through the open door, and strewed blades of straw like bars of gold before their feet. Waldemar Daa wanted to have gold, and the admiral wished for the black horses, and that is why he praised them so much; but the hint was not taken, and consequently the ship was not bought. It remained on the shore covered over with boards, a Noah's ark that never got to the water—Huh—sh ! rush away ! away !—and that was a pity.
' In the winter, when the fields were covered with snow, and the water with large blocks of ice that I blew up on to the coast,' continued the Wind, * crows and ravens came, all as black as might be, great flocks of them, and alighted on the dead, deserted, lonely ship by the shore, and croaked in hoarse accents of the wood that was no more, of the many pretty birds' nests destroyed, and the old and young ones left without a home ; and all for the sake of that great bit of lumber, that proud ship that never sailed forth.