Well, if you believe that the souls of the unborn reside in watery places, like marshes and ponds, you might believe that storks, who frequent such places for feeding, would carry them in to the village (where they nest) when it's time for human babies to be born. Also, in northern Germany, (where this legend may have originated) the migratory white storks arrive on their breeding grounds nine months after midsummer.

More stork folklore:

  • If a stork looks at a woman, she'll become pregnant.
  • If a stork nests in your chimney, that's good luck. It may indicate a son will be born, or that it's going to be very difficult to light a fire. Some European homeowners will encourage storks on their roofs by placing a wagon wheel up there on which the storks can build a nest.
  • In Morocco, if a stork nests in your chimney, your house will be empty.
  • If a stork leaves the nest, that is an omen of war, pestilence, or other miscellaneous disaster that will strike the area.
  • If a stork's shadow falls on a rosebush, grief will come to your village.
  • Don't kill a stork. That's just asking for trouble.
  • They live a long time: at the age of 600, they stop eating solid food. At 2000 years of age they turn black.

Stork (?), n. [AS. storc; akin to G. storch, OHG. storah, Icel. storkr, Dan. & Sw. stork, and perhaps to Gr. a vulture.] Zool.

Any one of several species of large wading birds of the family Ciconidae, having long legs and a long, pointed bill. They are found both in the Old World and in America, and belong to Ciconia and several allied genera. The European white stork (Ciconia alba) is the best known. It commonly makes its nests on the top of a building, a chimney, a church spire, or a pillar. The black stork (C. nigra) is native of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Black-necked stork, the East Indian jabiru. -- Hair-crested stork, the smaller adjutant of India (Leptoptilos Javanica). -- Giant stork, the adjutant. -- Marabou stork. See Marabou. -- Saddle-billed stork, the African jabiru. See Jabiru. -- Stork's bill Bot., any plant of the genus Pelargonium; -- so called in allusion to the beaklike prolongation of the axis of the receptacle of its flower. See Pelargonium.


© Webster 1913.

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