Page:The letters of Martin Luther.djvu/340

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300 LETTERS OF MARTIN LUTHER 1534 CCCXIl To Wolfgang Sieberger, Luther's Weak-Minded Servant Complaint of the birds in the Wittenberg wood to Luther. {No date.) To our good and kind Dr. Martin Luther, preacher in Wittenberg. We thrushes, blackbirds, linnets, gold- finches, along with other well-disposed birds who are spending the summer at Wittenberg, desire to let you know that we are told on good authority that your servant, Wolfgang Sieberger, out of the great hatred he bears to us, has bought some old rotten nets to set up a fowling-ground for finches, and not only for our dear friends and finches, but in order to deprive us of the liberty of flying in the air and picking up grains of corn, and also to make an attempt upon our lives, although we have not deserved such a punishment at his hands. Thus we poor birds humbly beseech you to prevent him carrying out his intentions, or if that be impossible, compel him to scatter corn for us in the evening, and forbid him rising before eight in the morning to visit the fowling-ground, and by doing this we shall ever be grateful to you, as it will enable us to take the route through Wittenberg. But if he continue his wicked attacks upon our lives, then we shall pray God to restrain him, and supply him with frogs, locusts, and snails instead of us, and visit him with mice, lice, fleas, and bugs in the nights, so that nothing may interfere with our freedom of flight. Why does he not vent his wrath on the sparrows, magpies, crows, mice, and rats which inflict so much injury on man, stealing the corn from the barns, which we never do, for we only pick up little fragments and single grains of corn, which we requite a hundredfold by swallowing flies, gnats, and other insects .? We put our case before you in a common-sense way, to see if we are not cruelly treated in having so many snares laid for us.