GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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which sent him kicking up his hind legs with joy at his freedom, and galloping over hedges and ditches, like a hunter in the hunt­ing-field.
The tailor, however, had not eaten anything since the day be­fore. "The dew," he said, "has filled my eyes, but bread has not filled my mouth; the first that I meet of anything eatable, I must keep for food."
At this moment a stork stepped quite gravely across the mea­dow. "Stop, stop V cried the tailor, and caught him by the leg. '? I do not know whether you are good to eat, but my hunger allows me no time to enquire. I must cut off your head and roast you."
"Do not do that," answered the stork. "I am a sacred bird, whom no one ever thinks of injuring, and I am of very great use to man; leave me my life, and I may be able, at some time or other, to recompense you for it."
" Take yourself off, then, cousin long-legs," said the tailor.
The stork rose, let his long legs hang down, and flew gently away.
" What shall I do now?" said the tailor to himself; " my hunger is constantly increasing, and my stomach is getting more empty: whatever comes in my way next is lost." Almost as he spoke, he came to a pond where two young ducks were swimming about. " You have come at my call," said he, seizing one of them; and he was just going to wring its neck, when an old duck, who stood among the rushes on the bank, began to quack loudly, and swing­ing towards him with stretched out beak, begged him most ear­nestly to spare her dear children.
" Think, now," she said, " how your own mother would have grieved if you had been taken away from her to be killed."
" Be still, now," said the good-natured tailor ; " you shall keep your children." And he placed the captive again in the water.
As he turned away, he saw before him an old tree partly hol­low, and from the hole wild bees were flying in and out. " Here I shall find a reward for my kind actions," said the tailor; " the honey will refresh me."
But the queen-bee came out in great displeasure, and said, " If you disturb my people, and destroy my nest, we will use bur stings upon you, and they will be in your skin like ten thousand