4. The golden eggs

The sun shines high in the sky, but Droef is not lying in his favourite spot.
That sunny spot is taken by a swan and he knows all too well that you must stay out of his neighbourhood. No, that happened to him once, he doesn’t fall for that a second time.
He looks longingly at his place, but the swan will not let him send him away. So, he decides to stay patiently in front of his doghouse. The swan looks at him threateningly, spreads her wings and flutters firmly on it. ‘Don’t you dare to come to my nest,’ she hisses.
‘Look mom, there’s a swan on the nest,’ Noortje shouts.
‘I see honey, just leave her alone. When swans are breeding, they can be very aggressive. Even Droef knows that, look he is lying in front of his doghouse.’
Noortje walks to Droef and strokes his head tenderly. Nevertheless, the swan fascinates her, and she pushes a little closer to her.
‘Don’t come any closer,’ the swan sizzles.’ I think, you want to steal my eggs!
‘No way,’ Noortje replies, and at that moment father swan is coming swimming.
‘Hello Noortje, long time no see. Darling, Noortje doesn’t want to steal our eggs, trust me.
Isn’t it Noortje?’
Of course not.’ She looks at the swan in surprise. ‘Where do you know me from? I don’t know you at all.’
‘I have met you there,’ and he points with his beak to the tip of the big tree. ‘Do you remember. You helped us a lot. You have driven the desert away. Well, I can tell you that it looks beautiful again. All the flowers are in full bloom again. Thank you for making such a wise choice at the time.’
Noortje rubs her eyes well. This is not possible, but this is certainly not a dream. Droef is lying in front of his loft and mommy is washing the laundry.
‘Mom, can you see that swan too,’ she asks.
‘Yes, of course, child. I am not blind,’ and she walks into the house with the laundry basket.
‘Come Noortje, we have to paint the eggs before Easter. Don’t hang around in the garden for too long,’ she calls.
‘Yes mom, I’ll be right there. in a moment.’
Father swan jumps to the side and waddles towards her. Noortje finds it a pretty scary and takes a few steps behind.
‘Don’t be scared darling, we know that you will not harm us. Before my wife lays our eggs, we would like to go out. Could you take care of our nest? You must ensure that it is not taken by others. Pay attention to those coots, which are very cheeky. Would you like to do that for us?’
Noortje nods and asks: ‘How long will you and your wife stay away?’
‘Not that long, but if you help us you get seven golden eggs from me. I promise.’
His wife starts laughing loudly and Noortje looks at her in surprise. ‘I have to believe that. I do not believe anything anymore.’ Noortje shrugs her shoulders. It’s ridiculous, she thinks. Golden eggs, no I don’t fall for that, but on the other side, golden eggs….! It’s almost Easter, who has real golden eggs at Easter?
‘What is your answer. Do you pay attention to our nest or not,’ asks daddy swan?
‘Okay, only if you don’t fool me, otherwise you’ll regret it. Just go, before I change my mind.’
‘Thanks, we won’t upset you. I promise.’
‘Pay close attention to our nest. We have been working so very hard on that,’ says mommy swan.
‘Yes, yes,’ and Noortje waves her hands as a sign that they can leave.
The swans swim away stately. One more time they look back. ‘It’s okay,’ says daddy swan.
Noortje does what she has promised and looked after the nest well. Just before Easter, the swans are back and very carefully Noortje counts the eggs in the nest. There are seven of them.
All the time daddy swan swims back and forth and every now and then he puts his head underwater and swims back to the nest.
‘Thank you, Noortje. You have looked after our nest very well. My wife and I are very grateful to you.’
Noortje shrugs and says: ‘You’ve fooled me. There are seven eggs in your nest, but they are not of gold.’
‘Oh, but we have real golden eggs for you, come along,’ replies daddy swan.
Noortje follows the swan, but at a cove he keeps swimming in circles. He asks if she wants to investigate the thick reeds. What she sees there is too good to be true. There are seven golden eggs the size of a fist.
‘They are for you. Grab them, but they all are very heavy. They are of pure gold. Promised is promised. Now I must go back to my wife, the children can be born any time,’ and he swims away.
Noortje is happy with her golden eggs, she takes them from the reeds and puts them in her apron. ‘It’s amazing. I have golden eggs,’ she screams out. I have to go home quickly…….’
She looks around and doesn’t recognise the location. I think I just must walk back along the water, maybe I’ll come back in our garden, she thinks.
‘Kraa, kraa,’ she hears above her head. ‘Hurry up Noor, it is getting dark soon. Take the shortest way. I will tell you how to walk, the sun is already dropping fast,’ the crow yells.
Noortje looks at the sky. She doesn’t trust the crow and keeps an eye on him, but he is sending her in the wrong direction.
‘Kraa kraa, you’re almost there. Just around that thick tree over there and then you will see your house,’ he shouts.
Noortje stumbles over a tree stump and falls over. She must let go of the eggs and she understands that the crow has lured her into the trap. Of course, he had been after her eggs all the time. She feels herself sinking into the mud and she realizes that it is going to be dark soon.
She has now really lost her way. She starts to cry and calls her mommy.

‘Hello darling, wake up.’
Noortje opens her eyes and sees mommy sitting on the edge of her bed. She flies into her arms and sobbing she wants to tell mom what the crow did to her.
‘Did you have a scary dream again. What is the matter with you? Come on, put on your housecoat and we’ll have a nice breakfast together.’
Dad is already sitting at the table and is reading his newspaper. Mom lifts Noortje and puts her on a chair. Noortje looks surprised at the centre of the table. There is a bowl with seven golden eggs, and she looks at her mom.
‘Yes honey, I painted them myself. Aren’t they pretty?’
Noortje grabs an egg and decides not to mention anything about her dream.
Even though the eggs are not made of real gold, they are very beautiful.

End.