And suddenly one day they were all quite gone. And
everyone spoke of the swallows and the South.
"I think I shall go South myself next year," said a hen.
And the year wore on and the swallows came again, and the
year wore on and they sat again on the gables, and all the
poultry discussed the departure of the hen.
And very early one morning, the wind being from the
North, the swallows all soared suddenly and felt the wind in
their wings; and a strength came upon them and a strange old
knowledge and a more than human faith, and flying high they
left the smoke of our cities and small remembered eaves, and
saw at last the huge and homeless sea, and steering by grey
sea-currents went southward with the wind. And going South
they went by glittering fog-banks and saw old islands
lifting their heads above them; they saw the slow quests of
the wandering ships, and divers seeking pearls, and lands at
war, till there came in view the mountains that they sought
and the sight of the peaks they knew; and they descended
into an austral valley, and saw Summer sometimes sleeping
and sometimes singing song.
"I think the wind is about right," said the hen; and she
spread her wings and ran out of the poultry-yard. And she
ran fluttering out on to the road and some way down it until
she came to a garden.
At evening she came back panting.
And in the poultry-yard she told the poultry how she had
gone South as far as the high road, and saw the great
world's traffic going by, and came to lands where the potato
grew, and saw the stubble upon which men live, and at the
end of the road had found a garden, and there were roses in
it -- beautiful roses! -- and the gardener himself was there
with his braces on.
"How extremely interesting," the poultry said, "and what
a really beautiful description!"
And the Winter wore away, and the bitter months went by,
and the Spring of the year appeared, and the swallows came
"We have been to the South," they said, "and the valleys
beyond the sea."
But the poultry would not agree that there was a sea in
the South: "You should hear our hen," they said.
Lord Dunsany, "Fifty-One Tales" 1915