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The Land of the White Birds

Volker Schmidt

The Land of the White Birds

An environmental adventure that gives children hope and empowers them to create a better future

Pictures by Barbara Hahn – Activities by Erika Steinle

Not a preface but thanks.

It is very rewarding to see how many people have come to realise how important their own contribution is when it comes to help change our society's attitude towards our environment. Love of nature as well as an active responsibility to preserve it are concerns we all share; our children in particular will be called to take action in this area. Respect for creation, knowledge of the natural processes and a willingness to accept our duty of care to preserve a planet worth living on – all this must become a taken-for-granted part of our children's thinking and feeling. These are the very aims towards which this book seeks to contribute.

It has taken a long time for THE LAND OF THE WHITE BIRDS to see the light of day in its present form. Many people have generously provided advice, support and criticism, and more often than not a great deal of time. This is not the work of a few individuals – it is a book by many for many.

To list the names of all those who were involved would not be of great gain to most readers. We hope that everyone who holds the book in their hands, aware of their own contribution, will be glad to have been part of its creation. They can be sure of our gratitude – and a harmonious coexistence of human beings and nature in the future might be their reward.

The author

About the author

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Volker Schmidt has a background in biology, geography and teaching, and writes for the Fränkische Landezeitung. Alongside journalism, in his literary work he seeks to contribute to creating an awareness of the evolution of nature, people and society today and the many-faceted challenges facing us in these areas. His books are accessible too, and engaging for, adults and teenagers alike, and their scope reaches beyond narrow local concerns. The author spent significant periods of his life living and working abroad, and his literary fingerprint reflects this. His books straddle the divide between thought-provoking critique and fairytale.

On account of his many-layered and poignant environmental poetry and his original short stories, he has been dubbed – justifiably – a “Robin Hood with a witty pen” (Süddeutscher Rundfunk).

Volker Schmidt is married with grown-up children. He lives with his wife in a small rose paradise, in touch with nature, in the Frankonia region of Germany.

First edition 2015

Publisher: tredition GmbH, Hamburg

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any way form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher or the author.

Translation Jochen Scherer

Responsible for all contents: Volker Schmidt, Landvogt Heinrich Straße 10, 91602 Dürrwangen, Germany

Typesetting and cover graphics: Hans Schmutterer, Oberkemmathen

Internal illustrations: Barbara Hahn und Erika Steinle

Printed on permanent, acid-free paper.

ISBN e-Book edition 978-3-7323-7304-8

ISBN Pocket edition 978-3-7323-7302-4

ISBN Hardcover edition 978-3-7323-7303-1

This book is also available in German, titled "Traumland am fernen Ufer"

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Contents

The First Evening

Mull

The Chamber of Keys

The Monster

Tummy Ache

The Children's Convoy

Nick's Dream

The Spring

The Black Dove

A Visitor from the Seaside

Precious Water

The singing trees

Emergency in the Forest

The Riddle

The Big Road

Fire Pipes

Home

The Land of the White Birds

The Miracle

Freedom

The Fortress

The Black Ghost

Nick's Question

Postscript

Tasks to go with the story