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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
American Dialect of New Hampshire
this translation narrated with native pronunciation:
The wren, used to keep his nest in the cawnah of the bahn. One time, the oldah
bööds both flew out—they hahd wanted to get a dite ta eat fowah theyah yowens
and hahd left them all alone.
Ahftah a while, Fahthah Wren came bahk home to the nest.
“What hahppened he-yah?” he says. “Who hahmed you, guys? You all look like you hahd the bejesus scayahd outta you!”
“Oh, Dad,” they said, “some huge monstah came by just a few minutes ago. He was wicked scary! He stayahd into ouwah nest and hahd these wicked huge eyes and really scayahd us some goo-ud!
“Ayuh, I see,” Fahthah Wren says, “wheyah’d he go?”
“Well,” they said, “he went thaht way—down thayah in the woods.”
“Wait heyah!” Fahthah Wren said, “I’m goin’ ahftah him. Don’t you worry now,
kids. I’ll get him some goo-ud.” With thaht said, he stahted to fly from his
So he flew föthah inta the woods, then around a bend, and aftah a while came upon a wildcaht.
But the wren wahn’t scayahd one bit. He lands on the wildcat’s bahk and stahts layin’ inta him. “What business do you hahve comin’ to my house,” he says, “and scayahrin’ the bejesus outta my yowens?!”
The wildcaht pays no attention to the bööd and just keeps on standin’ theyah.
just ticks that loud mouth off wös and he lays it into thaht joe-jeezly wildcaht
some wicked—even hahdah then befowah. “Now you listen heyah, Mistah May-an—you
have no business bein’ thayah whatsoevah! And if you dayah come bahk”, he says,
“well, then you’ll see—I don’t want to do it,” he says and stahts to lift one
of his legs, “but I’d bust yowah bahk some goo-ud with my leg in a second!”
Aftah sayin’ thaht, he flew right bahk to his nest.
“Theyah, kids”, he says, “I taught thaht joe-jeezly wildcat a lesson some wicked. He won’t dayah evah be bahk heyah.”