The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 50

A man of Damme, not being able to pay Claes for his coal, gave him his most valuable possession, which was an arbalest with twelve quarrels well pointed to serve as missiles.

In hours when work was slack Claes went shooting with the cross bow; more than one hare was killed by his prowess and turned into a fricassee all through harbouring an inordinate love of cabbages.

Then would Claes eat greedily, and Soetkin would say, looking out upon the empty high road:

“Thyl, my son, dost thou not smell the fragrance of the sauces? He is an-hungered without doubt at this hour.” And all pensive, she would fain have kept him his share of the feast.

“If he is hungry,” said Claes, “it is his own fault; let him come back, he shall fare as we do.”

Claes kept pigeons; he liked, besides, to hear singing and chirruping about him, warblers, goldfinches, sparrows, and other birds that sing and chatter. And so he was swift and ready to shoot the buzzards and the royal sparhawks that were devourers of this poor folk.

Now once when he was measuring coal in the yard, Soetkin pointed out to him a great bird hovering high in air above the dove cote.

Claes seized his cross bow and said:

“May the Devil save his Hawkship!”

Having made ready his cross bow, he took his stand in the yard, following every movement of the bird, so as not to miss it. The light in the sky was between day and night, Claes could only discern a black speck. He loosed the quarrel and saw a stork come tumbling down into the yard.

Claes was sorely grieved thereat; but Soetkin was grieved worse, and cried out:

“Cruel, thou hast slain God’s own bird!”

Then she took up the stork, and saw that she was but wounded in a wing, went to fetch a balsam, and said while she was dressing the wound:

“Stork, my dear, ’tis not clever of you that we all love, to hover in the sky like the sparhawk we all hate. And so poor folks’ arrows fly to the wrong address. Art thou hurt in thy poor wing, stork, that dost submit so patiently, knowing that our hands are the loving hands of friends?”

When the stork was healed, she had everything to eat that she wanted; but she liked best the fish Claes went and caught in the canal for her. And every time the bird of God saw him coming, she opened her huge beak.

She followed Claes about like a dog, but stayed in the kitchen for preference, warming her belly by the fire, and knocking with her beak on Soetkin’s front as she got the dinner ready, as much as to ask her:

“Is there nothing for me?”

And it was merry to behold this solemn messenger of good luck wandering about the cottage on her long stilts.