GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search



Share page  


Previous Contents Next

THE KING OF THE BIRDS.
345
One summer's day a bear and a wolf were taking a walk together in the wood. The bear presently heard a very beautiful song, and he said, " Brother wolf, what bird is that singing so splendidly ?"
" That is the king of the birds,"* replied the wolf; " and we must treat him with great respect." But the wolf was in fun, for it was only a little wren.
" If it is the king of the birds," said the bear, " he certainly ought to have a palace. Come and show it to me."
" That is not a very easy task," replied the wolf. " At all events we must wait till the queen comes home."
At this moment Jenny Wren appeared with her husband, and they both carried food in their beaks for their little ones. The bear wanted to follow them, but the wolf held him back, and said, "No! we must wait till the king and his wife go out again."
They took particular note of the place where the nest was, and went farther. But the bear could not rest till he had seen the kingly palace of the little wren. So he persuaded the wolf, and they went back together to the wren's nest.
The parent birds were absent, and the bear climbing up to peep in, saw five or six little creatures lying in the nest.
"Is that a palace?" cried the bear. "Why, it is a wretched place; and if you are the king's children, you are miserable little creatures."
When the wrens heard this they were terribly angry, and one of them cried out, "We are not miserable little creatures. Our parents are noble people, and you shall pay dearly for insulting us."
The bear and the wolf were much alarmed at this threat, and, turning round, ran back quickly to their holes. But the young wrens kept on crying and lamenting till their parents returned with food for them. Then they said, "We will not eat a morsel; not even a fly's leg, till you have taught the bear to know that we are noble children; for he has been here, and insulted us dreadfully."
"Make yourselves quite easy, children," said the wren. "We will do what you wish immediately." Then the father-bird, with
* In German the word for wren is Zaun-konigóHedge King. On the word Konig, King this tale is founded.