One of the more popular symbols carved into the limewood, sycamore and walnut used to make Welsh love spoons is the stork.

Storks are a very common symbol of parenthood, with the image of the stork carrying a baby to their new parents being commonly used even to this day.

However, the history of this connection is globe-spanning and could be caused in no small part due to confusion between large white birds.

This is why it has sometimes been traced back to the Ancient Greek myth of Hera and Gerana when the former turned the latter into a crane. In some accounts and early translations, it was mistranslated as a stork, due to the similar descriptions of the birds before modern taxonomy.

By the early Middle Ages, the stork would be more firmly connected to births in part due to many marriages in northern Europe taking place in Summer, when Storks would migrate from Europe to Africa before returning in the Spring.

This nine-month spell coincides with the birth of a child, which is where the main association between storks and babies began.

This myth developed in Norse mythology and continental Europe, particularly in Germany, the Netherlands and eastern Europe, with the belief that storks that nested on the roof of a house would bring good luck and a new child to the family living below.

The person to spread this belief around outside of Germany, parts of Europe and a similar myth in the Americas, was Hans Christian Anderson, who wrote his version of the myth as The Storks, where the storks would take driving babies from lakes and ponds and deliver them to families that deserve them.

This image then developed into the image we know today of a baby wrapped up in swaddling clothes or held in a basket being delivered by storks to the mother or down the chimney of a house.

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