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The Toad

And then Mother Stork talked in the nest. She told about the land of Egypt and the water of the Nile, and of all the wonderful mud there was to be found in foreign countries; it sounded entirely new and charming to the little Toad.

"I must get to Egypt!" it said. "If only the Stork would take me along, or if one of its youngsters would. I would do the little one some favor in turn, on his wedding day. Yes, I'll get to Egypt, because I'm lucky! All the longing and yearning I feel is surely better than having a jewel in one's head."

And still it had the true jewel! That eternal longing and desire to go upward, ever upward, was the jewel, and it shone within the little Toad, shone with gladness, shone brightly.

At that very moment the Stork came. He had seen the Toad in the grass, and now he swooped down and, not very gently, siezed the little creature. His bill pinched, and the wind whistled; this was anything but comfortable. But still the Toad was going upward, and off to Egypt, it knew; therefore its eyes brightened until it seemed as if a spark shot out from them.

"Croak! Oh!"

The body was dead; the little Toad had been killed. But the spark from its eyes - what became of that?

The sunbeam caught it up and bore away the jewel from the head of the Toad. Where?

You should not ask the Naturalist; rather ask the Poet. He'll tell it to you as a fairy tale; and the Caterpillar will be in it, and the Stork family will have a part in it. Just think - the Caterpillar will be changed into a beautiful butterfly. The Stork family will fly over mountains and seas to faraway Africa and yet find the shortest way home again to the land of Denmark, to the same village, to the same roof! Yes, it's all almost too much like a fairy tale, and still it is true! You may well ask the Naturalist about that; he'll have to admit it; and yet you know it yourself, for you've witnessed it.

But the jewel in the head of the Toad? Look for it in the sun; look at it if you can.

The brightness is too great.

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