The Story of the Year
But the sparrows crowded into these patches, chirping, "Peep! Peep! Is spring coming now?"
"Spring!" It resounded over the field and meadow and through the dark-brown woods, where the green moss was shining on the tree trunks. And through the air, from far away in the south, the first two storks came flying swiftly, carrying on their backs two lovely children, a little boy and a little girl. They greeted the earth with a kiss, and wherever they set their little feet, tiny white flowers pushed up from beneath the snow. Then the children ran hand in hand to the old man of ice, Winter, greeted and embraced him. At that moment they and he and all the field around them were hidden in a thick, damp mist that closed down like a dark, heavy veil. Then the wind rose gradually until it was roaring and drove away the mist with its heavy blast, so that the sun shone warmly, and Winter had vanished, while the beautiful children of spring on the throne of the year.
"That's what I call a new year!" cried the sparrows. "Now we'll again get our rights back and make up for the hard winter!"
Wherever the two children turned, bushes and trees put forth new green buds, the grass shot upward, and the cornfields turned green and became more and more lovely. And the little maiden strewed flowers all around. She carried them in her apron up before her, and it was always full of them; indeed, they seemed to grow there, for her lap was always full, however wantonly she tossed the flowers about. In her eagerness she scattered a drifting snow of blossoms over the apple trees and peach trees, so that they burst forth in full beauty before their green leaves had fully shown themselves.
Then she clapped her hands, and the boy clapped his, and great flocks of birds came flying - nobody knew where they came from - and all sang, "Spring has come!"
It was beautiful to behold. Many an aged grandmother came out of her doorway into the bright sunshine, gleefully gazing at the bright yellow flowers that dotted the fields just as they used to do when she was young.