THE BIRD OF TRUTH
Once upon a time there lived a poor fisher who built a hut on the banks of a stream which, shunning the glare of the sun and the noise of towns, flowed quietly past trees and under bushes, listening to the songs of the birds overhead.
One day, when the fisherman had gone out as usual to cast his nets, he saw borne towards him on the current a cradle of crystal. Slipping his net quickly beneath it he drew it out and lifted the silk coverlet. Inside, lying on a soft bed of cotton, were two babies, a boy and a girl, who opened their eyes and smiled at him. The man was filled with pity at the sight, and throwing down his lines he took the cradle and the babies home to his wife.
The good woman flung up her hands in despair when she beheld the contents of the cradle.
'Are not eight children enough,' she cried, 'without bringing us two more? How do you think we can feed them?'
'You would not have had me leave them to die of hunger,' answered he, 'or be swallowed up by the waves of the sea? What is enough for eight is also enough for ten.'
The wife said no more; and in truth her heart yearned over the little creatures. Somehow or other food was never lacking in the hut, and the children grew up and were so good and gentle that, in time, their foster-parents loved them as well or better than their own, who were quarrelsome and envious. It did not take the orphans