The folktale of the storks of Alsace

The region of Alsace in France has long been associated with storks.  These great birds are a spectacular sight in flight and a source of curiosity and wonder nesting on the roofs and chimney tops of many buildings and chimney tops around the region.  They almost disappeared from Alsace but a successful breeding programme helped to re-establish their numbers.

Louis the Pious

There is a legend associated with them that goes back to 817 when Louis the Pious, who was the son of Charlemagne the great emperor decided to split his lands between his three sons. However, Louis was not a firm man and his second wife persuaded him to revoke his original decision and make her own son the heir.  Louis son’s rebelled and waged war upon their father.

Mourning

It is said that the storks were appalled and sorrowful of the bloodshed and war that was rampant upon the beautiful region of Alsace that they went to god to beg him to put an end to it. But God had given man free will and he would not interfere.  The storks sorrowfully asked him if there was nothing else that they could do but wear mourning.

God told them that there was nothing else they could do and that to help them in their mourning he gave them permission to dip their wings in black.  For this reason the symbolic storks of Alsace have black tips on the feathers on their wings.

© 12/10/2015 zteve t evans

References and Attributions

Copyright October 12th, 2015 zteve t evans

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