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What’s with this “Wren” thing?
The oldest extant version of the fable
are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology
Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche
Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”)
collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read
The wren used to have his nest in the garage. One time, the parents had both flown out—looking for something for the fledglings to eat—and had left them there all alone.
After a while, Father Wren returned back home.
“What’s happened here?” he asked. “Who got you all riled up like this, eh? You’re all scared witless!”
“Oh, Dad,” they said, “some big monster just came by. He was really awful and scarey! He looked right into the nest with his big eyes and we got really scared!”
“Is that right?” Father Wren asked, “where did he go?”
“Well,” they said, “he went off over there.”
“Just wait here!” Father Wren said, “I’m going to go after him. Don’t you worry about a thing, children. I’m going to get him.” And with that he flew off after him.
When he came around the next corner, he saw a lion walking along there.
But the wren was not afraid. He landed on the lion’s back and started chewing him out. “What business do you have coming to my house,” he said, “and terrifying my children, eh?! You’re really offside, you know.”
The lion ignored him completely and kept on going.
But now the little wren was really pissed. “You have no business being there,
I tell you! And if you come back,” he said, “well, then you’ll see! I don’t really
want to do it,” he said and finally lifted one of his legs, “but I’ll break your
back with my leg in a second!”
And with that he flew back to the nest.
“There you go, children,” he said, “I’ve taught that old lion a lesson he’ll never forget. It’s not likely we’ll see much of his kind anymore, eh?”