The Story of the Boastful Thrush and St. Peter.
IT WAS in the month of March, when Christ was walking on the earth with St. Peter. Going through a forest they saw a thrush strutting about on the top of a tree.
"Good morning, Mr. Thrush," said St. Peter.
"I have no time for you," replied the thrush.
"And why not, prithee?"
"Oh, you see, I am just now making summer, and I am busy. To-day I am going to be married, and to-morrow a brother of mine has a wedding," he said, turning his back upon them proudly.
St. Peter and Christ said nothing, but went on their way. In that afternoon there came a cold and heavy rain. It came down in torrents all the afternoon, and during the night there came a frost from God which made the stones crack, and it snowed heavily also. The next morning, after they had done what they had to do, Christ and St. Peter came again through the forest, and they found the thrush sitting now on one of the lowest branches of the tree, huddled together and trembling, with no more thoughts of marriage.
"Good morning, Mr. Thrush," said St. Peter, when he saw him sitting there huddled together and trembling.
"Thank you," he replied angrily.
"But what are you doing now? Why are you sitting so huddled up?"
"To-day I am dying, and to-morrow a brother of mine is dying," he answered, letting his beak down and ruffling his feathers to protect himself a little more against the frost which had struck him to the heart.
From that time on the thrush does not boast any more that he is making summer, and that he is going to marry; but he cries anxiously: "Socks and sandals, for to-morrow it snows, good socks of cloth and sandals of leaves to go in them to my beloved." This he sings because of the fear of being caught again in snow and frost, and of not being able to walk about in safety.