"By the path through the woodland," said the moon, "there are two small farm-houses. They have low doors; some of the windows are high, others close to the ground. Mulberry bushes, and white thorn grow around them. The roof of each house is overgrown with moss, yellow flowers and lichen. The only plants that grow in the gardens are cabbages and potatoes; but near the hedge stands a large willow-tree, and under it sat a little girl, with her eyes fixed upon an old oak between the two houses. It was only an old withered trunk, which had been sawn off at the top, and on it a stork had built his nest. He stood in it snapping with his beak. A little boy came and stood by the girl's side; they were brother and sister. 'What are you looking at?' he asked.
"'I'm watching the stork,' she replied. 'Our neighbors told me he would bring me a little brother or sister to-day; let us stay and see it come.'
"'The stork will not bring any such thing,' said the boy. 'Our neighbor told me the same story; she laughed when she said it, so I asked her if she could say, 'upon my honor,' and she could not; so I know by that, that the tale about the stork is not true, and they only say it to us children for fun.'
"'But where do the babies come from then?' asked the girl.
"'Why an angel from heaven brings them under his cloak; but no one can see him, and that's why we never know when he brings them.'
"At that moment there was a rustling in the branches of the willow tree, and the children folded their hands and looked at each other. It must certainly be the angel coming with the baby. They took each other's hand; and at that moment the door of one of the houses opened, and a neighbor appeared.
"'Come in, you two,' she said, 'and see what the stork has brought.'
"'Then the children nodded gravely at each other; they knew already that the baby had come; it was a little brother."
The Baby and the Stork
A Fictional Short Story by
Agnes Taylor Ketchum & Ida M. Jorgensen