THE ALMOND TREE.
" Wife, come out directly ; here is a bird singing beautifully; only listen."
Then he called his daughter, all his children, and acquaintance, both young men and maidens, and they came up the street and gazed on the bird, and saw how beautiful it was with red and green feathers, and round its throat was as it were gold, and its eyes twinkled in its head like stars.
" Bird," said the shoemaker, "do sing that piece over again."
" No," said the bird, " I may not sing for nothing twice; you must give me something."
" Wife," said the man, " go into the shop; on the top shelf stands a pair of red shoes; bring them here."
So the wife went and brought the shoes.
" Now bird," said the man, "sing us that piece again."
And the bird came down and took the shoes in his left claw, and flew up again to the roof, and sang,
"It was my mother who murdered me ; It was my father who ate of me ; It was my sister Marjory Who all my bones in pieces found ; Them in a handkerchief she bound, And laid them under the almond tree. Kywitt, kywitt, kywitt, I cry, Oh what a beautiful bird am I!"
And when he had finished he flew away, with the chain in his right claw and the shoes in his left claw, and he flew till he 'eached a mill, and the mill went " clip-clap, clip-clap, clip-clap." And in the mill sat twenty millers-men hewing a millstone— 'hick-hack, hick-hack, hick-hack," while the mill was going 'clip-clap, clip-clap, clip-clap." And the bird perched on a linden tree that stood in front of the mill, and sang,
" It was my mother who murdered me ; "
Here one of the men looked up.
" It was my father who ate of me; "
Then two more looked up and listened.
"It was my sister Marjory "
Here four more looked up.