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Croak!

Hans Christian Andersen

The A-B-C Book The Angel Anne Lisbeth At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea Aunty Aunty Toothache "Beautiful" The Beetle The Bell The Bell Deep The Bird of Folklore The Bishop of Börglum and his Men The Bond of Friendship The Bottle Neck The Brave Tin Soldier The Buckwheat Butterfly The Candles Chicken Grethe's Family The Child in the Grave Children's Prattle Clumsy Hans The Comet The Court Cards The Cripple Croak! The Daisy Dance, Dance, Doll of Mine! Danish Popular Legends The Darning Needle The Days of the Week The Drop of Water The Dryad The Elder-Tree Mother The Elf Mound The Emperor's New Clothes Everything in its Proper Place Danish Popular Legends The Farmyard Cock and the Weathercock The Fir Tree Five Peas from a Pod The Flax The Flea and the Professor The Flying Trunk Folks Say - The Galoshes of Fortune The Gardener and the Noble Family The Garden of Paradise The Gate Key The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf The Goblin and the Grocer The Goblin and the Woman God Can Never Die Godfather's Picture Book Golden Treasure A Good Humor Grandmother Great-Grandfather The Great Sea Serpent The Happy Family Heartache Holger Danske Ib and Little Christine The Ice Maiden In the Children's Room In the Duck Yard It's Quite True! Jack the Dullard The Jewish Girl The Jumpers Kept Secret but not Forgotten The Last Pearl A Leaf from Heaven Little Claus and Big Claus The Little Green Ones Little Ida's Flowers The Little Match Seller The Little Mermaid Little Tuck Luck May Lie in a Pin Lucky Peer The Marsh King's Daughter The Metal Pig The Money Pig The Most Incredible Thing Moving Day The Naughty Boy The Neighboring Families The New Century's Goddess The Nightcap of the "Pebersvend" The Nightingale The Old Church Bell The Old House The Old Oak Tree's Last Dream The Old Street Lamp The Old Tombstone Ole Lukoie Ole, the Tower Keeper On Judgment Day Peiter, Peter, and Peer Pen and Inkstand The Penman The Phoenix Bird Picturebook Without Pictures A Picture from the Ramparts The Pigs The Poor Woman and the Little Canary Bird The Porter's Son The Princess and the Pea The Psyche The Puppet-show Man The Racers The Rags The Red Shoes The Rose Elf A Rose from Homer's Grave The Shadow The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweep She Was Good for Nothing The Shirt Collar The Silent Book The Silver Shilling The Snail and the Rosebush The Snowdrop The Snow Man The Snow Queen Something Soup on a Sausage Peg The Stone of the Wise Man The Storks The Storm Shifts the Signboards A Story A Story from the Sand Dunes The Story of a Mother The Story of the Year A String of Pearls Sunshine Stories The Swan's Nest The Sweethearts; or, The Top and the Ball The Swineherd The Talisman The Teapot There is a Difference This Fable is Intended for You The Thorny Road of Honor Thousands of Years from Now Thumbelina The Tinder Box The Toad The Traveling Companion Twelve by the Mail Two Brothers Two Maidens The Ugly Duckling Under The Willow Tree Urbanus A View from Vartou's Window Vänö and Glänö What Happened to the Thistle What Old Johanne Told What One Can Invent What the Old Man Does is Always Right What the Whole Family Said Which Was the Happiest? The Wicked Prince The Wild Swans The Will-o'-the-Wisps Are in Town The Windmill The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters The World's Fairest Rose

All the birds of the forest were sitting upon the branches of the trees, which had quite enough leaves; and yet the birds were unanimous in their desire for more leaves - the "leaves" of a journal; a new, good journal was what they longed for - a critical newspaper such as humans have so many of, so many that half of them would be sufficient.

The songbirds wanted a music critic, each for his own praise - and for criticism (where it was needed) of the others. But they, the birds themselves, could not agree on an impartial critic.

"It must be a bird, though," said the Owl, who had been elected president by the assembly, for he is the bird of wisdom. "We ought not elect anyone from another branch of animals, except perhaps from the sea. There fish fly, like birds in the sky, but that, of course, is our only relationship. However, there are quite enough animals to select from between fish and birds."

Then the stork took the floor and rattled from his beak, "There are indeed beings between fish and birds. The children of the marsh, the Frogs - I am voting for them. They are extremely musical, and their choir singing is like church bells in a lonely wood. I get an urge to travel," said the Stork, "a tickling under my wings, when they begin to sing."

"I am also voting for the Frogs," said the Heron. "They are neither bird nor fish, but still they live with the fishes and sing like the birds."

"Now that's the musical part," said the Owl. "But the paper must speak of all the beauties of the forest. We must have coworkers. Let each of us consider everyone in his family."

Then the little Lark sang out cheerfully and prettily, "The Frog should not be the editor of the paper - no, it should be the Nightingale!"

"Stop your chirping!" said the Owl. "I am hooting for order! I know the Nightingale. We are both night birds. Each bird sings with his own beak. Neither he nor I ought to be elected, because the paper would become an aristocratic or philosophic newspaper, a beau monde paper, run by high society. It must also be an organ for the common man."

They agreed that the paper should be called Morning Croak or Evening Croak - or just Croak. They unanimously voted for the latter.

It would fill a long-felt need in the forest. The Bee, the Ant, and the Gopher promised to write about industrial and engineering activities, in which they had great insight. The Cuckoo was nature's poet. Not counted among the songbirds, he was, however, of the greatest importance to the common man. "He always praises himself; he is the vainest of all birds, and yet not much to look at," said the Peacock.

Then the Flesh Flies paid a visit to the editor in the forest. "We offer our services. We know people, editors, and human criticism. We lay our larva in the fresh flesh - and then it decays within twenty-four hours. We can destroy a great talent, if necessary, in the editor's service. If a paper is the spokesman for a party, it dares to be rude; and if one loses a subscriber, one will get sixteen in return. Be cruel, give nicknames, put them in a pillory, whistle through your fingers like a gang of young radicals, and you become a power in the state."

"Such an air rover!" said the Frog about the Stork. "I actually looked up to him when I was little and felt a trembling admiration. And when he walked in the marsh and spoke of Egypt, my imagination carried me to wonderful foreign lands. Now he doesn't impress me any more - that is all just an echo in my memory.

"I have become wiser, rational, important - I write critical articles in Croak. I am what, in the most correct and proper writing and speech of our language, is called a Croaker!

In the human world there is also that sort. I have written a piece about it on the back page of our paper."

The End

Fables & Tales Nonfiction Poetry Short Stories

Aesop Andersen, H.C. Dickinson, Emily Frost, Robert Grimm Henry, O Kipling, Rudyard Longfellow, Henry Poe, Edgar Allan Shakespeare, William Thoreau, Henry Twain, Mark Wilde, Oscar