Nana tells an old Dutch fairy tale

It’s early in the evening when Nana’s sitting under the tree house of Dr M with all the Burgeron children gathered around her. Even little Boo has come to listen to the story Nana is about to tell.

Nana’s a great story teller. Her digital stories are known to many people all around the world. So now be silent and listen to Nana tell the story of …


Once upon a time there was an old windmill that stood on its spot as long as the people could remember. The miller was very proud of his mill that was made by hand by his forefathers. No other windmill in the county could grind as fine as this one. From all over the county the farmers brought their corn to the miller.

The old windmill was taken care of very well; an extra coat of paint in due time, some varnish on the sails, a good clean of the mill stone; no efforts were spared in order to keep the windmill in good shape.

The miller dreamed of the moment that he could pass on his windmill to his eldest son, who was about to get married and who would continue the miller’s work with much love.

But it wasn’t just the miller who dreamed. The windmill itself dreamed too. How much would he like to explore the wide world, to look upon the earth from way above, to make long journeys and have many adventures.

“Oh yes, how much I would like to do all that,” sighed the old windmill.

“Where’s that sigh coming from?” whispered the wind. The wind was the oldest friend of the mill. Over many years the sails had been dancing in full harmony to the wind. Even when it stormed and when the wind played a rough game upon the sails, they caught the blows without any complaints.

“My old friend, you’ve known me for such a long time already and yet you have no knowledge of my deepest wish?”

“What would that be then, dear windmill? Nobody can grind as well as you. You’re being well taken care of and soon you’ll get a new boss who’s bragging about you to his friends already.”

“That’s all true, but I want to fly!”

“To fly?” said the wind, “but, why?”

“I want to see the world. I hear the birds whistle and tell each other all kind of stories when they fly by. At times I’m lucky when they take a short break on one of my sails, and then I hear a little bit more of their story. But mostly it’s all just small parts of the whole thing and it’s just like a patchwork blanket without any color to me.”

“Oh my dear old friend, maybe I can be of help to you. I can’t let you fly, but maybe there’s another way to get to know more about the world. Tomorrow is a new day, let’s just see what it’ll bring to you.”

At dawn the old windmill felt a breeze caressing its sails. The wind put a small, fluffy thing on a sail, a thing unknown to the mill. After a couple of days, on a sunny day, the cocoon – for that was what the wind had put on the sail – opened up, and a beautiful colorful butterfly got out. She was more beautiful than anything the windmill had seen before.

“Welcome my little friend,” said the windmill, “let me be your home.”

“Where am I, who are you?”

“I’m an old windmill and you’re on one of my sails.”

“Oh,” said the butterfly while looking around. “Sorry, but I have to be off now, I have to fly.”

“Please little butterfly, don’t leave me. I’m standing here for more than one hundred years, always on the same spot. I see nothing of the world beyond the fields and the little town. Couldn’t you go into the world for me, and return every evening filled with stories and adventures and share those with me? Couldn’t you be my eyes to the world?”

“But, I can’t fly that far in one day,” said the butterfly.


WindmillButterflyStory_800pxThe windmill looked sadly at the butterfly. Would his dream be nothing but a dream after all? The windmill was too occupied with his grieve to notice that the wind had returned.

“Fear not my friend,” said the wind, “I’ll lift this darling creature every day farther than she could have flown on her own strength. I’ll lift her way high into the sky, and will fly with her over clouds and rainbows. When she gets tired, I’ll bring her back, every night, to you my dear old pal.”

“Then it’s okay,” said the little butterfly, “old windmill, I’ll be your window to the world and thus we will have many adventures together.”

And so it went. Every morning the little butterfly was taken by the wind to faraway places, and was brought back to the windmill when the sun went down. The windmill listened to all the stories eagerly and lived through all adventures with such intensity that it could have been his own adventures.

Weeks passed and summer became autumn.

On a warm day the butterfly landed on a sail and said “dear old windmill, the world is such a great adventure, and many adventures we’ve lived through. I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I did.”

“What do you mean, my friend?”

“I feel my eyes getting blurry and my wings getting stiff. Even when the wind is ever so gentle with me, there still will be a time that I will make my last journey and become as one with the wind.”

“But, I’ll miss you!” said the windmill.

“I will miss you too, old friend. I’d love to have a place to rest where you’d know where I am, and where you might even see me once in a while. But all that is not in our hands.”

The butterfly said farewell to the windmill and the windmill waved a last goodbye with his slowly turning sails. The wind lifted the butterfly with its weary body and took it to the meadow nearby.

In the green grass of the meadow stood a beautiful young woman.

“How lucky I am,” she whispered to herself, “to get to live here with the love of my life.”

The young wife of the miller’s son looked up and saw the little butterfly approaching. She lifted her hand and the butterfly landed gently on her finger.

“How beautiful you are, and how nice of you to visit me on this last warm evening. Shall we watch the sun go down together?”

The young miller’s wife put the butterfly on her bare shoulder and together they watched the sunset. The little butterfly, tired yet satisfied of everything that she had seen, closed her wings for the last time while the windmill’s sails turned to the gentle breeze of the wind.


The children were all silent. The little ones had fallen asleep already, and some had tears in their eyes.
“Nana tell us more …” they cried all at once.
“No,” said Nana, “it’s bed time now. Off ya’ll go now. I’ll see you tomorrow evening here at the same spot. And then we can share the stories the butterfly must have taken back to the windmill every evening just as we tell each other our daily adventures over supper each night.”

The children went home. Even little Boo went searching for his mama.
All turned quiet as the night set over Bovine Texas.

(Listen in to this magical evening of Nanalou telling the story.)

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