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He sang of the happy time when he could fly in the air, joyous and free; of the young green corn in the fields, from which he would spring higher and higher to sing his glorious song—but now he was a prisoner in a cage. The little daisy wished very much to help him. But what could she do? In her anxiety she forgot all the beautiful things around her, the warm sunshine, and her own pretty, shining, white leaves.

Two boys came out of the garden; one of them carried a sharp knife in his hand, like the one with which the girl had cut the tulips.

They went straight to the little daisy, who could not think what they were going to do. The poor bird was complaining loudly about his lost freedom, beating his wings against the iron bars of his prison. The little daisy could make no sign and utter no word to console him, as she would gladly have done.

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The whole morning passed in this manner. My throat is hot and dry; I feel as if I had fire and ice within me, and the air is so heavy. I must die. I must bid farewell to the warm sunshine, the fresh green, and all the beautiful things which God has created. The bird nodded to her and kissed her with his beak and said: "You also will wither here, you [19] poor little flower! They have given you to me, with the little patch of green grass on which you grow, in exchange for the whole world which was mine out there.

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Each little blade of grass is to me as a great tree, and each of your white leaves a flower. The perfume from her leaves was stronger than is usual in these flowers, and the bird noticed it, and though he was fainting with thirst, and in his pain pulled up the green blades of grass, he did not touch the flower.

The evening came, and yet no one had come to bring the bird a drop of water. Then he stretched out his pretty wings and shook convulsively; he could only sing "Tweet, tweet," in a weak, mournful tone. His little head bent down toward the flower; the bird's heart was broken with want and pining. Then the flower could not fold her leaves as she had done the evening before when she went to sleep, but, sick and sorrowful, drooped toward the earth.

Not till morning did the boys come, and when they found the bird dead, they wept many and bitter tears. They dug a pretty grave for him and adorned it with leaves of flowers. The bird's lifeless body was placed in a smart red box and was buried with great honor. Poor bird! But the turf with the daisy on it was thrown out into the dusty road. No one thought of the little flower that had felt more for the poor bird than had any one else and that would have been so glad to help and comfort him if she had been able.

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The shell grew, and the peas grew; and as they grew they arranged themselves all in a row. The sun shone without and warmed the shell, and the rain made it clear and transparent; it looked mild and agreeable in broad daylight and dark at night, just as it should. And the peas, as they sat there, grew bigger and bigger, and more thoughtful as they mused, for they felt there must be something for them to do. It seems to me there must be something outside; I feel sure of it.


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Suddenly they felt a pull at the shell. It was torn off and held in human hands; then it was slipped into the pocket of a jacket, together with other full pods. There they lay in a child's hand.

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A little boy was holding them tightly. He said they were fine peas for his pea-shooter, and immediately he put one in and shot it out. Up he flew against an old board under a garret window and fell into a little crevice which was almost filled with moss and soft earth. The moss closed itself about him, and there he lay—a captive indeed, but not unnoticed by God. Within the little garret lived a poor woman, who went out to clean stoves, chop wood into small pieces, and do other hard work, for she was both strong and industrious.

Yet she remained always poor, and at home in the garret lay her [24] only daughter, not quite grown up and very delicate and weak.

For a whole year she had kept her bed, and it seemed as if she could neither die nor get well. The other was left to me, but I suppose they are not to be separated, and my sick girl will soon go to her sister in heaven. Spring came, and early one morning the sun shone through the little window and threw his rays mildly and pleasantly over the floor of the room.

Just as the mother was going to her work, the sick girl fixed her gaze on the lowest pane of the window. It is moving in the wind. The mother stepped to the window and half opened it. How could it have got into this crack? Well, now, here is a little garden for you to amuse yourself with.

She took a little stick and propped up the green plant which had given her daughter such pleasure, so that it might not be broken by the winds. She tied the piece of string to the window-sill and to the upper part of the frame, so that the pea tendrils might have something to twine round.

And the plant shot up so fast that one could almost see it grow from day to day. At last she was beginning to let [26] herself hope that her little sick daughter might indeed recover. She remembered that for some time the child had spoken more cheerfully, and that during the last few days she had raised herself in bed in the morning to look with sparkling eyes at her little garden which contained but a single pea plant. A week later the invalid sat up by the open window a whole hour, feeling quite happy in the warm sunshine, while outside grew the little plant, and on it a pink pea blossom in full bloom.

The little maiden bent down and gently kissed the delicate leaves. This day was like a festival to her. But what became of the other peas? Why, the one who flew out into the wide world and said, "Catch me if you can," fell into a gutter on the roof of a house and ended his travels in the crop of a pigeon. The two lazy ones were carried quite as far and were of some use, for they also were [28] eaten by pigeons; but the fourth, who wanted to reach the sun, fell into a sink and lay there in the dirty water for days and weeks, till he had swelled to a great size.

I am the most remarkable of all the five that were in the shell. But the young girl, with sparkling eyes and the rosy hue of health upon her cheeks, stood at the open garret window and, folding her thin hands over the pea blossom, thanked God for what He had done.


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It looks aristocratic! Below, in the street, a crowd of children were playing. When they chanced to catch sight of the storks, one of the boldest of the boys began to sing the old song about the stork. The others soon joined him, but each sang the words that he happened to have heard.

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Do you hear them say we're to be hanged and shot? But the boys went on singing, and pointed mockingly at the sentinel stork. Only one boy, whom they called Peter, said it was a shame to make game of animals, and he would not join in the singing at all. The mother stork tried to comfort her young ones. The children assembled again on the next day, and no sooner did they see the storks than they again began their song:.

They will bow to us in the water and sing 'Croak! Whoever does not fly as he should will be pierced to death by the general's beak, so mind that you learn well, when the drill begins. To Egypt we shall fly, where are the three-cornered houses of stone, one point of which reaches to the clouds; they are called pyramids and are older than a stork can imagine. In that same land there is a river which overflows its banks and turns the whole country into mire. We shall go into the mire and eat frogs. We need do nothing all day long but eat; and while we are feasting there so comfortably, in this country there is not a green leaf left on the trees.

It is so cold here that the very clouds freeze in lumps or fall down in little white rags. Some time passed, and the nestlings had grown so large and strong that they could stand upright in the nest and look all about them. Every day the father stork came with delicious frogs, nice little snakes, and other such dainties that storks delight in.