The Accident Of Birth by Howard Pyle

Saint Nicholas used to send, so I am told,
All new-born babes by storks, in days of old.

King Friedrich Max of Stultzenmannenkim,
For many years unto the Saint did pray,
That he would send unto his Queen and him,
A baby boy, to be the King some day.
At last the Saint the King’s petition heard,
And called to him a sober long-legged bird.

Quoth he, “Good Wilhelm Stork (such was its name),
Here is a baby boy to take away.
It is for Fritz; so bear him to the same,
Or rather to his Queen, without delay.
For one grows weary when one always hears
The same words daily dinning in one’s ears.”

Now Wilhelm Stork was old, and dull of wits,
For age not always sharpens wisdom much,
So what does he but bear the gift to Fritz
The cobbler, who had half a score of such.
And so the baby, through a blunder, passed
From being first of all, unto–ye last.

From this I gather that a new-born Prince,
From new-born cobbler’s somewhat hard to know,
For which of us could tell the difference, since
One thus experienced was mistaken so?
Also, perhaps, I should be great, instead
Of writing thus, to earn my daily bread.


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