Lowlands-L Anniversary Celebration

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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...


Scottish English


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Translation: Sandy Fleming

Location: Somerset, England, United Kingdom; originally from East Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom

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The Wren

There was this wren had his nest in the garage. There was a time the parents had both flown out—they were wanting to get something for their young to eat—and had left the wee ones all by themselves.

Not long after, Father Wren came home.

“What’s been going on here?” he said, “Who’s been bothering you, children? You all look downright scared!”

“Aw, Dad,” said them, “this great big bogie-man came past just now. He was so fierce and horrible! He scowled into our nest with his great big eyes. That’s what frightened us all so badly!”

“I see,” said Father Wren, “what way did he go?”

“Well,” said them, “he went down that way.”

“Hang on!” said Father Wren, “I’ll get after him. Don’t be frightened, children. I’ll fix him.” And at that he flew away after him.

He came round the bend, and who is it but the lion he sees walking along.

But the wren’s not scared. He lands on the lion’s back and starts going on at him. “What do you think you’re doing coming to my house,” said he, “and frightening my children?!”

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The lion just ignored him and went on along the road.

That made the cocky wee bird go on at him even more. “You’ve no right being there, neither you have! And if you come here again,” said he, “well, you’ll see! I’m not wanting to have to do it,” said he, and lifted one of his legs, “but I’d break your back with my leg in a moment!” And at that he flew away home again to his nest.

“There you are, children,” said he, “I’ve taught that one a lesson. We’ve seen the last of him.”

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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