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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
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
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.