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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
sunshine urgeth each sometimes tender spring
To summer-laden flush on every bush
Birds that not long agone in
dalliance did sing
Proceed to nesting, kindling to
secure their kind.
On a fair day, on one of spring’s nigh last,
Passed an occurrent that
a fellow’s proofapproveth―
Not alone courage for his progeny to shelter fast
But courage that his very self-conceitedaspectmoveth.
Such is the story of the wren that ye finde
A tale that in a humble waggon-shed beginn’th Whence the
old wrens had flown to see their nestlings sated
When they aback repaired with
morsels each one winn’th
In yet more kindlingchares in groves they
called their own,
And all this while their tender brood sat in their nest alone.
a father bird that sustenance home bringeth
Bear natural expect of
his brood’s jolly cheer?
’T is but surmised that
each young fainlyspringeth.
But lo! The
selfsame brood was stirred like hunted deer, Thronged on
the nest-home’s inmostedge in coil,
Too feared for
silence spite ofkeenerwit,
And adding to their father’s burden utmosttoil.
―What hathbetided, peats?
What gear is it
From which arose such fright?―enquired he. Quoth they―a giant bugbearfeared us here
With hungry eyes. He would devour us with glee!―
to! What rotten dare! Soon shall he rue such gere!
But say ye, peats,
where might the scurvy monster be?
Down yonder now? Abide! I’ll seize that pilch!―quoth he.
Passing the corner in pursuit his right resolve to prove
He saw a lion yond with plodding paws and
But anger bolds. Unto the lion’s back
in one swift move,
Get thee gone, thoucat-mowed crow!
What’s thyintendmentgallowing my aery with thy stare?― Bore him no mind the lion, plodding farther
on his way.
―Jumpill and bale!―quothfierced the
wren,―Of that I’m ware.
No rightful purpose hast thou there, false fiend,
Shouldst thou again
be seen in these parts, well, I swear,
Not fainly would
I violent, though forced iwis I would.―
With this our minimus raised
one foot in the air,
―I would thus frush and knap thy
back! With ease I could.―
With this he flew aback and quoth―My peats,
I lessoned well
that loon. Ne’er more will he come here. I swear.―