Gertrude's Bird

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Gertrude' s bird is an old Norwegian name for the Black woodpecker. The name comes from an old tale with the same name.

Gertrude's Bird (in Norwegian: Gjertrudsfuglen) is a Norwegian fairy tale collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in their Norske Folkeeventyr. It is also an old name for the Black woodpecker in Norway.


Jesus and St. Peter came begging one day to a house where a woman named Gertrude lived. She took a tiny piece of dough to make them a bannock, but it covered the whole griddle just the same, and she thought it too large to give to beggars. She tried twice more, each time with less dough, but could not make a bannock small enough. So she refused to give them anything. Jesus turned her into a woodpecker, to seek her food on trees and never drink except when it rains.

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