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THE MUSICIANS OF BREMENOnce upon a time . . . an old donkey was ill-treated by his master. Tired of such unkindnesshe decided to run awayand when he heard that Bremen was looking for singers with the town bandhe decided that someone with a fine braying voice like his might be accepted.

As he went along the roadthe donkey met a skinny dogcovered with sores.

"Come with me. If you have a good barkyou'll find a job with the band too. Just wait and see!"

A little latera stray catno longer able to catch micejoined them and the trio trotted hopefully on towards the town. As they passed a farmyardthey stopped to admire an elderly cockerel whowith outstretched wingswas crowing to the skies.

"You sing well" they told him. "What are you so happy about?"

"Happy?" muttered the cockerel with tears in his eyes. "They want to put me in the pot and make broth of me. I'm singing as hard as I can todayfor tomorrow I'll be gone." But the donkey told him"Run away with us. With a voice like yoursyou'll be famous in Bremen!"

Now there were four of them. The way was longnight felland very frightenedthe four creatures found themselves in a thick forest.

They scarcely knew whether to press on or to hide in some caves and rest. Suddenlyin 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 seethe dog jumped on the donkey's backthe cat climbed onto the dog and the cockerel flew on top of the cat to watch what was going on inside.

Nowthe 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 backthe 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 glassthe barking of the dog and the snarling of the cat. The cockerel screeched along with the others.

Taken completely by surprisethe terrified bandits fled screaming: "The Devil! The Devil!" And their abandoned meal ended up in the four friends' stomachs.

Laterhoweverjust as the donkey and his companions were dropping off to sleepone of the bandits crept back to the now quiet house and went in to find out what had taken place. He opened the doorand with his pistol in his handhe stepped trembling towards the fire. Howevermistaking the glow of the cat's eyes for burning coalshe 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 dogdropping his gunwhich went offand the animal's sharp teeth sank into his leg. When the donkey saw the bandit's figure at the doorhe gave a tremendous kicksending the man flying right through the doorway. The cockerel greeted this feat with a grim crowing sound.

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

And so the donkeythe dogthe cat and the cockerel took over the house without any trouble andwith the booty left behind by the banditsalways had food on the tableand lived happy and contented for many years.




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