“Look at me,” said the mother, “you must hold your heads in this way, and place your feet so. Once, twice, once, twice—that is it. Now you will be able to take care of yourselves in the world.”
Then she flew a little distance from them, and the young ones made a spring to follow her; but down they fell plump, for their bodies were still too heavy.
“I don’t want to fly,” said one of the young storks, creeping back into the nest. “I don’t care about going to warm countries.”
“Would you like to stay here and freeze when the winter comes?” said the mother, “or till the boys comes to hang you, or to roast you?—Well then, I’ll call them.”
“Oh no, no,” said the young stork, jumping out on the roof with the others; and now they were all attentive, and by the third day could fly a little. Then they began to fancy they could soar, so they tried to do so, resting on their wings, but they soon found themselves falling, and had to flap their wings as quickly as possible. The boys came again in the street singing their song:—
“Stork, stork, fly away.”
“Shall we fly down, and pick their eyes out?” asked the young storks.
“No; leave them alone,” said the mother. “Listen to me; that is much more important. Now then. One-two-three. Now to the right. One-two-three. Now to the left, round the chimney.
There now, that was very good. That last flap of the wings was so easy and graceful, that I shall give you permission to fly with me to-morrow to the marshes. There will be a number of very superior storks there with their families, and I expect you to show them that my children are the best brought up of any who may be present. You must strut about proudly—it will look well and make you respected.”
“But may we not punish those naughty boys?” asked the young storks.
“No; let them scream away as much as they like. You can fly from them now up high amid the clouds, and will be in the land of the pyramids when they are freezing, and have not a green leaf on the trees or an apple to eat.”
“We will revenge ourselves,” whispered the young storks to each other, as they again joined the exercising.