THE MUSICIANS OF BREMEN

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They scarcely knew whether to press on or to hide in some caves and rest. Suddenly, in the distance they saw a light amongst the trees. It came from a little cottage and they crept up to the window. The donkey placed his front hoofs on the window ledge. Anxious to see, the dog jumped on the donkey’s back, the cat climbed onto the dog and the rooster flew on top of the cat to watch what was going on inside.

Now, the cottage was the hideaway of a gang of bandits who were busily celebrating their latest robbery. The hungry donkey and his friends became excited when they saw the food on the table. Upset by the Jittery crew on his back, the donkey stuck his head through the window and toppled his three companions

on to the lamp. The light went out and the room rang with the braying of the donkey who had cut his nose on the glass, the barking of the dog and the snarling of the cat. The rooster screeched along with the others.

Taken completely by surprise, the terrified bandits fled screaming: “The Devil! The Devil!” And their abandoned meal ended up in the four friends’ stomachs.

Later, however, just as the donkey and his companions were dropping off to sleep, one of the bandits crept back to the now quiet house and went in to find out what had taken place. He opened the door, and with his pistol in his hand, he stepped trembling towards the fire. However, mistaking the glow of the cat’s eyes for burning coals, he thrust a candle between

them and instantly the furious cat sank its claws into the bandit’s face. The man fell backwards on to the dog, dropping his gun, which went off, and the animal’s sharp teeth sank into his leg. When the donkey saw the bandit’s figure at the door, he gave a tremendous kick, sending the man flying right through the doorway. The rooster greeted this feat with a grim crowing sound.

“Run!” screamed the bandit. “Run! A horrible witch in there scratched my face, a demon bit me on the leg and a monster beat me with a stick! And . . .” But the other bandits were no longer listening, for they had taken to their heels and fled.

And so the donkey, the dog, the cat and the rooster took over the house without any trouble and, with the booty left behind by the bandits, always had food on the table, and lived happy and contented for many years.

By Grimm

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