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The Drunken Rooks

The Drunken Rooks [Folk Tales Of Flanders]

The Drunken Rooks [Folk Tales Of Flanders]

It was the middle of winter and the ground was covered with snow. Along the high road came Mynheer Van Ash, the well-known merchant of Alost, driving to the town with two immense casks of the liquor known as Hollands, in which he traded. All unknown to the merchant, one of the casks had a hole in it, and as he drove along the liquor leaked out, and sank into the snow.

In a field close by the roadside were a flock of fifty rooks, who were eagerly turning up the snow and pecking at the ground beneath in search of food. Attracted by the strong and heady smell of the spilt liquor, they flew across to investigate, and having tasted some of the  gin-sodden snow, liked it so well that they followed in the train of the cart, eating more and more of it, until at last they were so drunk that they could hardly stand on their feet. Away they went to the fields again, and very soon afterwards the whole flock of them was fast asleep.

Presently, Little Pol, a peasant who worked in the neighbourhood, happened to cross the field on his way homeward, and saw the crows lying stiff and silent on the snow.

“Ah!” said he to himself. “Here is a funny sight! Fifty crows frozen to death with the cold. I’ll take them home with me and pluck them. Rook-pie is excellent eating, and such a find is welcome these hard times!” So, taking a cord from his pocket, he set to work to gather up all the rooks, and tie them together by the legs. This done, he proceeded on his way, dragging the rooks behind him.

The roughness of the motion and the friction of the snow very soon aroused the rooks from their slumber. They all woke up, and finding their legs tied, began to flap their wings together with admirable precision. Unfortunately for Little Pol, he had taken the precaution of fastening the cord to the belt round his middle, so when the fifty rooks began to fly he could not get free, and found himself being lifted into the air.

Up went the fifty rooks cawing and crying, and up too went Little Pol, calling in vain for help. They reached the clouds; they penetrated the clouds; they disappeared from sight.

And since that day not a sign has ever been seen either of the fifty rooks or of Little Pol.

The Drunken Rooks [Folk Tales Of Flanders]


The Drunken Rooks [Folk Tales Of Flanders]



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