The Neighboring Families
One would certainly think that something quite unusual had happened in the duckpond to cause such a commotion, but nothing really had happened.
All the ducks that had been floating gracefully on the water, some standing on their heads, for they knew how to do that, now abruptly rushed straight onto land. Leaving their footprints in the wet clay, they shrieked so that one could hear them far away. The water was agitated. It had been smooth as a mirror, reflecting calmly and clearly everything around it; every tree and bush, the old peasant's cottage with holes in its gable, the swallow's nest, and especially the large rose tree whose branches and flowers covered the wall and hung almost into the water all these had been painted on the clear surface like a picture, only upside down. But now that the water was troubled, everything ran together, and the whole picture was ruined. Two feathers that had fallen from the ducks were tossed to and fro, and suddenly took flight as though carried away by the wind, yet there was no wind. And soon the feathers lay still, and the water became smooth as a mirror again, reflecting as before the peasant's cottage, the swallow's nest, and the rose tree. Each rose could see itself in the pond; all were beautiful, but they didn't know it - no one had told them so. The sun shone through their delicate petals, which were so full of fragrance, and each rose felt the way we do when we are happy in our thoughts.
"How delightful it is to live!" said each rose. "The only thing I'd wish for is to kiss the sun, because it's so warm and bright. Yes, and those lovely roses down in the water! I'd like to kiss them too; they're just like us. And I'd like to kiss those dear baby birds in the nest down there; yes, there are also some above us. They pop out their heads and twitter so softly, and they haven't any feathers like their father and mother! We certainly have pleasant neighbors, above and below. Oh, how wonderful it is to be alive!" Now the young birds up above - yes, those down below were just their reflection in the water - were sparrows.