Select the desired text size

How some wild animals became tame ones.

Start of Story

'You don't know what you are doing,' said the boy. 'If once you go there you will never gallop through these woods any more. You are stronger than many men, but they will catch you and put ropes round you, and you will have to work and to serve them all the days of your life.' The horse threw back his head at these words, and laughed scornfully. 'Yes, I am stronger than many men,' answered he, 'and all the ropes in the world would not hold me. Let them bind me as fast as they will, I can always break loose, and return to the forest and freedom.' And with this proud speech he gave a whisk of his long tail, and galloped away faster than before. But when he reached the miller's house everything happened as the boy had said. While he was looking at the guests and thinking how much handsomer and stronger he was than any of them, a rope was suddenly flung over his head, and he was thrown down and a bit thrust between his teeth. Then, in spite of his struggles, he was dragged to a stable, and shut up for several days without any food, till his spirit was broken and his coat had lost its gloss. After that he was harnessed to a plough, and had plenty of time to remember all he had lost through not listening to the counsel of the boy.



When the horse had turned a deaf ear to his words the boy wandered idly along, sometimes gathering wild strawberries from a bank, and sometimes plucking wild cherries from a tree, till he reached a clearing in the middle of the forest. Crossing this open space was a beautiful milk-white cow with a wreath of flowers round her neck. 'Good-morning,' she said pleasantly, as she came up to the place where the boy was standing. 'Good-morning,' he returned. 'Where are you going in such a hurry?' 'To the miller's wedding; I am rather late already, for the wreath took such a long time to make, so I can't stop.' 'Don't go,' said the boy earnestly;' when once they have tasted your milk they will never let you leave them, and you will have to serve them all the days of your life.'



'Oh, nonsense; what do you know about it?' answered the cow, who always thought she was wiser than other people. 'Why, I can run twice as fast as any of them! I should like to see anybody try to keep me against my will.' And, without even a polite bow, she went on her way, feeling very much offended. But everything turned out just as the boy had said. The company had all heard of the fame of the cow's milk, and persuaded her to give them some, and then her doom was sealed. A crowd gathered round her, and held her horns so that she could not use them, and, like the horse, she was shut in the stable, and only let out in the mornings, when a long rope was tied round her head, and she was fastened to a stake in a grassy meadow. And so it happened to the goat and to the sheep. Last of all came the reindeer, looking as he always did, as if some serious business was on hand. 'Where are you going?' asked the boy, who by this time was tired of wild cherries, and was thinking of his dinner.



'I am invited to the wedding,' answered the reindeer, 'and the miller has begged me on no account to fail him.' 'O fool!' cried the boy, 'have you no sense at all? Don't you know that when you get there they will hold you fast, for neither beast nor bird is as strong or as swift as you?' 'That is exactly why I am quite safe,' replied the reindeer. 'I am so strong that no one can bind me, and so swift that not even an arrow can catch me. So, goodbye for the present, you will soon see me back.' But none of the animals that went to the miller's wedding ever came back. And because they were self-willed and conceited, and would not listen to good advice, they and their children have been the servants of men to this very day.

       



back to top
Back To Top
previous page
Previous Page
Audio version of this story
audio version of this story
Text version of this story
Text version of this story
Download the audio of this story
Download the audio of this story
Download the text of this story
download the text of this story