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113 The Crane and the Heron 72. An owl was flying—a cheerful soul.So it flew and flew about and perched, twitched its tail about, looked from side to side, and then flew on. It flew and flew about and perched, twitched its tail about, looked from side to side . . . . That’s the pre-tale; the tale’s yet to come. In a swamp there lived and dwelt a crane and a heron. They built their huts at opposite ends. The crane found it tedious to live alone, so it decided to marry.“I’ll just go and court the heron!” The crane set off. Tap, tap! It’d waded through the swamp for seven versts. It came and said, “Is the heron at home?” “I’m at home.” “Marry me!” “No, crane, I won’t marry you. Your legs are too long, your coat is too short, you fly poorly, and you’ve nothing to feed me with! Go away, bean pole!” The crane went home with a bitter taste in its mouth. Afterward, the heron changed its mind and said,“Why should I live alone, I’d be better off marrying that crane.” So it went to the crane and said, “Crane, marry me!” “No, heron, I don’t need you! I don’t want to get married, and I won’t marry you. Get out of here!” The heron cried in shame and turned back. The crane changed its mind and said,“I refused the heron to no purpose. Why, it’s tedious to live alone. I’ll go now and marry the heron. The crane came and said,“Heron! I’ve decided to marry you. Let’s do it!”“No, crane, I won’t marry you!” So the crane went home. Then the heron changed its mind:“Why did I refuse? Why live alone? I’d better marry the crane!” So it came to court, but the crane didn’t want to. And so that’s what they do to this day: One courts the other, but no way do they marry. ...


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MARC Record
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