The Story of God and the Odd Present.
WHEN God had finished making the trees and grass, the sun and moon, and all that lives and moves, he sat down on his seat and ordered all the creatures to come to him that he might bless them. Every one came and brought a gift according to its best, and God blessed each one according to its nature. The sheep brought wool and milk, and the Lord blessed it, and bade it clothe the house of the Rumanians with its wool and feed the babies with its milk. The bee brought sweet honey and wax with the perfume of all the flowers. God blessed it, so that with the honey man's food should be sweetened, and the wax should light the Church at the Holy Office. Thus each creature got the blessing according to its ways. Now came the turn of the hornet, by nature lazy and accustomed to live by theft. What could she bring? and again, how could she come with empty hands before the throne of the Almighty? So, finding a piece of cardboard, she picked it up and brought it to God. The Lord understood the trick which the hornet wanted to play on him, and how lazy she was. He, therefore, cursed her that all her work should be as brittle as bits of cardboard, and she should live only by theft. Her habitation should be the chimney, and her nest should be broken by everybody. So has it remained to this very day. The nests look as if they had been made of cardboard, they hang down from the smoky chimneys of houses, as if they were to be smoked; she lives by theft and even upon dead bodies, and her nest is always broken up.