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The Boy Who Knew What The Birds Said   By: (1881-1972)

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The Boy Who Knew What The Birds Said







[Illustration: Round and round the Castle they went and the Giant with his strength was wearing out Feet in the Ashes.]

The Boy Who Knew What The Birds Said

By Padraic Colum

Illustrated by Dugald Stewart Walker


The Macmillan Company, Publishers New York Mcmxx


COPYRIGHT, 1918 BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1918.

For The Boy In The Brocken




How he came to know what the birds said 13

The Stone of Victory. And how Feet in the Ashes, the Swineherd's Son, came to find it 21

The King of the Birds 51

Bloom of Youth and the Witch of the Elders 67

The Hen wife's Son and the Princess Bright Brow 85

The Giant and the Birds 113

The Sea Maiden who became a Sea Swan 133

What the Peacock and the Crow Told Each Other 149

The Treasure of King Labraid Lorc 163



List of Full Page Illustrations

Frontispiece Round and Round the Castle they went, and the Giant with his strength was wearing out Feet in the Ashes PAGE "No bird will ever out soar this flight of mine," said the Eagle 61

But just as the Witch was dragging her to the stone a robin began to sing 79

The Red Champion said, "Good is the Champion that the King of this Land has sent against me." 97

All flew from the mountain except one bird and he was the greatest amongst them all 117

I put it to my lips, I drank it when he took a step towards me 141

O most beauteous of all the birds, do you know of any arms by which a hero can slay a dragon? 155

"Ernan is Lord, is Lord of the Fair Islands" 173


The Boy Who Knew What The Birds Said



How He Came to Know What the Birds Said


There is one thing that all the Birds are afraid of, and that is the thing that will happen when the Bird That Follows the Cuckoo flies into the Cuckoo's mouth.

And what will happen then, asks my kind foster child.

When the Bird that Follows the Cuckoo flies into the Cuckoo's mouth the World will come to an end.

All the Birds know that, but not all the People know it.

Well, one day the Cuckoo was sitting on a bush and her Mouth was open. The Bird That Follows the Cuckoo flew straight at it. And into it he must have flown only for the Boy....

The Boy was in the tree and he flung his cap at the Cuckoo and he covered the Cuckoo and the Cuckoo's open mouth.

The Bird That Follows the Cuckoo flew into the Crow's mouth instead, and the Crow gave that bird a squeeze, I can tell you. The Cuckoo pushed off the Boy's cap with her wings and flew into the forest.

All the Birds of the King's Garden were there at the time. There were

The Crow, the Woodpecker, The Wren and the Eagle, The Blackbird and Swallow, The Jackdaw and Starling, And the wonderful Peacock; The Lapwing and Peewit, The bold Yellowhammer, The bad Willy wagtail, The Raven so awful, And the Cock with his Hens; Stone checker, Hedge sparrow, And Lint white and Lark, The Tom tit and Linnet, And brisk little Sparrow, The King fisher too, And my own little Goldfinch... Continue reading book >>

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