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119. When Babies Are Born: The Wren And The Cricket.

The little Wren is the messenger of the birds, and pries into everything. She gets up early in the morning and goes round to every house in the settlement to get news for the bird council. When a new baby is born she finds out whether it is a boy or girl and reports to the council, If it is a boy the birds sing in mournful chorus: "Alas! the whistle of the arrow! my shins will burn," because the birds know that when the boy grows older he will hunt them with his blowgun and arrows and roast them on a stick.

But if the baby is a girl, they are glad and sing: "Thanks! the sound of the pestle! At her home I shall surely be able to scratch where she sweeps," because they know that after a while they will be able to pick up stray grains where she beats the corn into meal.

When the Cricket bears that a girl is born, it also is glad, and says, "Thanks, I shall sing in the house where she lives. "But if it is a boy the Cricket laments: "Alas! He will shoot me! He will shoot me! He will shoot me!" because boys make little bows to shoot crickets and grasshoppers.

When inquiring as to the sex of the new arrival the Cherokee asks, "Is it a bow or a (meal) sifter?" or, "Is it ballsticks or bread?"

Next: 120. The Raven Mocker