THE GOOD-TEMPERED TAILOR. 385
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