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The old moon laughed and sang a song,

As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long

Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish

That lived in that beautiful sea—
Now cast your nets wherever you wish—

Never afeard are we!"

So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam—

Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;

'Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be,

And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd
Of sailing that beautiful sea—
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,

And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies

Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings

Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things

As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three—
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.




HERE were once two brothers, one of them rich, the other poor. The rich brother was a goldsmith, and had a wicked heart. The poor brother supported himself by making brooms, and was good and honest. He had two children, twin brothers, who resembled each other as closely as one drop of water resembles another. The two boys went sometimes to the house of their rich uncle to get the pieces that were left from the table, for they were often very hungry.

It happened one day that while their father was in the wood gathering rushes for his brooms, he saw a bird whose plumage shone like gold; he had never seen in his life any bird like it.

He picked up a stone and threw it at the bird, hoping to be lucky enough to secure it; but the stone only knocked off a golden feather, and the bird flew away.

The man took the feather and brought it to his brother, who, when he saw it, exclaimed, "That is real gold!" and gave him a great deal of money for it. Another day, as the man climbed up a beech tree, hoping to find the golden bird's nest, the same bird flew over his head, and on searching further he found a nest, and in it lay two golden eggs. He took the eggs home and showed them to his brother, who said again, "They are real gold," and gave him what they were worth. At last the goldsmith said, "You may as well get me the bird, if you can."

So the poor brother went again to the wood, and when he saw the golden bird sitting on the tree, he took a stone and brought it down and carried it to his brother, who gave him a great heap of gold for it. "I can support my family for a long time with this," said the poor brother, and he went home to his house full of joy.

The goldsmith, however, who was clever and cunning, knew well the real value of the bird. So he called his wife, and said, "Roast the gold bird for me, and be careful that no one comes in, as I wish to eat it quite alone."

The bird was, indeed, not a common bird; it had a wonderful power even when dead. For any person who ate the heart and liver would every morning find under his pillow a piece of gold. The goldsmith's wife prepared the bird, stuck it on the spit, and left it to roast.

Now, it happened that while it was roasting and the mistress was absent from the kitchen, the two children of the broom-binder came in and stood for a few moments watching the spit as it turned round. Presently two little pieces fell from the bird into the dripping pan underneath. One of them said, "I think we may have those two little pieces; no one will ever miss them, and I am so hungry."

So the children each took a piece and ate it up.

In a few moments the goldsmith's wife came in and saw that they had been eating something, and said, "What have you been eating?"

"Only two little pieces that fell from the bird," they replied.

"O!" exclaimed the wife in a great fright, "they must have been the heart and liver of the bird!" and then, that her husband might not miss them, for she was afraid of his anger, she quickly killed a chicken, took out the heart and liver, and laid them on the golden bird.

As soon as it was ready she carried it in to the goldsmith, who ate it all up, without leaving her a morsel. The next morning, however, when he felt under his pillow, expecting to find the gold pieces, nothing was there.

The two children, however, who knew nothing of the good fortune which had befallen them, never thought of searching under their pillow. But the next morning as they got out of bed, something fell on the ground and tinkled, and when they stooped to pick it up, there were two pieces of gold. They carried them at once to their father, who wondered very much, and said, "What can this mean?"

As, however, there were two more pieces the next morning, and again each day, the father went to his brother and told him of the wonderful circumstance. The goldsmith, as he listened, knew well that these gold pieces must be the result of the children having eaten the heart and liver of the golden bird, and therefore that he had been deceived. He determined to be revenged, and though hard-hearted and jealous, he managed to conceal the real truth from his brother, and said to him, "Your children are in league with the Evil One; do not touch the gold, and on no account allow your children to remain in your house any longer, for the Evil One has power over them, and could bring ruin upon you through them."

The father feared this power, and therefore, sad as it was to him, he led the twins out into the forest and left them there with a heavy heart.

When they found themselves alone the two children ran here and there in the wood to try and discover the way home, but they wandered back always to the same place. At last they met a hunter, who said to them, "Whose children are you?"

"We are a poor broom-binder's children," they replied, "and our father will not keep us any longer in the house because every morning there is a piece of gold found under our pillows."

"Ah," exclaimed the hunter, "that is not bad! Well, if you are honest, and have told me the truth, I will take you home and be a father to you."

In fact, the children pleased the good man, and as he had no children of his own, he gladly took them home with him.

While they were with him he taught them to hunt in the forest, and the gold pieces which they found every morning under their pillows they gave to him; so for the future he had nothing to fear from poverty.

As soon as the twins were grown up, their foster father took them one day into the wood, and said, "To-day you are going to make your first trial at shooting, for I want you to be free if you like, and to be hunters for yourselves."

Then they went with him to a suitable point, and waited a long time, but no game appeared. Presently the hunter saw flying over his head a flock of wild geese, in the form of a triangle, so he said, "Aim quickly at each corner, and fire." They did so, and the first proof-shot was successful.

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