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What’s with this “Wren” thing?
The oldest extant version of the fable
are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology
Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche
Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”)
collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read
Dialect of Newfoundland, Canada
this translation narrated with native pronunciation:
There used to be this wren used to have his nest in the garage. Once the mother
and the father birds had both gone off—they were going to get something to
eat for their young ones—and they left the little one all alone.
So, after a while father wren comes back home.
“What’s happened here, kids,” he says, “You all look terrified. Who hurt
“Oh, dad!” they say, “Some big boogeyman came by just now. He looked right
fierce. He looked into the nest with his big eyes. He was horrible! That really
“I see,” says Father Wren, “Where did he go?”
“Well,” they say, “he went down that way.”
“You just wait,” says Father Wren, “I’ll get after him. Don’t you worry
now, kids! I’ll get him.” And with that he flies after him.
When he comes around the bend it’s the lion walking along there.
But the wren isn’t afraid. He alights on the lion’s back, and he starts
scolding him. “What right do you have coming to my house,” he says, “and terrifying
The lion pays no mind to this and keeps on walking.
And that makes the little gappy loud-mouth bird get after him even more
fiercely. “You have no business being there I tell you! And if you come back,”
he says, “well, then you’ll see. I don’t really want to do it,” he says and
lifts one of his legs, “but I’d break your back with my leg in a second.”
And with that he flies back to his nest.
“There you go, children,”
he says, “I’m after teaching that one a
lesson. He won’t be back.”