Tales from the Brothers Grimm

Chico and the Crane

Once upon a time...

in the city of Florence lived Mr. Corrado, a nobleman famous for his love of hunting and for his banquets. One day, his falcon caught a beautiful crane, which Mr. Corrado handed to Chico, the cook and told him to roast to perfection.

The bird was almost done when a pretty young peasant girl entered the kitchen to visit the cook. When she sniffed the savory smell of roasting, the girl persuaded Chico to give her one of the bird's legs. In due course, the crane was carried to the nobleman's table and Mr. Corrado summoned the cook to explain what had happed to the missing leg. To his question, the unfortunate cook replied:

"Sire! Cranes have only one leg!"

"What? One leg?" exclaimed Mr. Corrado. "Do you think I've never seen a crane before?" But Chico insisted that these birds had only one leg: "If I had a live bird here, I'd show you!" However, the nobleman had no desire to argue in front of his guests, but he told the cook:

"Very well. We'll go and see tomorrow morning, but woe betide you if it's not true."

At sunrise, Mr. Corrado, angrier than ever, gave the order to saddle the horses. "Now we'll see who's telling lies," he said grimly. Chico 'I would gladly have fled in fear, but he did not dare. However, as they approached the river, the cook spotted a flock of cranes, fast asleep. Of course, they were all standing on one leg, as they do when resting. "Sire! Sire!" Chico cried. "Look, I was right. They have only one leg."

"Indeed!" snorted Mr. Corrado. "I'll show you!" And so saying, he clapped his hands and gave a shout. At the sudden sound, the cranes uncurled the other leg and flapped away.

"There you are, you scoundrel," growled the nobleman. "You see they have two legs!" To which Chico quickly retorted, "But Sire, if you had clapped and shouted at table yesterday, then the bird would have uncurled its other leg!"

At such a clever reply, Mr. Corrado's anger turned to amusement. "Yes, Chico, you're right. I should have done just that!" And he clapped the cook's shoulder, as they parted friends.

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