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Jack and his comrades.
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Start of Story
"We're going to seek our fortune till the harvest comes in, and you may
join us if you like."
"And that I'll do with a heart and a half," says the cat, "and thank'ee
for asking me."'
Off they set again, and just as the shadows of the trees were three
times as long as themselves, they heard a great cackling in a field
inside the road, and out over the ditch jumped a fox with a fine black
cock in his mouth.
"Oh, you anointed villain!" says the ass, roaring like thunder.
"At him, good dog!" says Jack, and the word wasn't out of his mouth
when Coley was in full sweep after the Red Dog. Reynard dropped his
prize like a hot potato, and was off like shot, and the poor cock came
back fluttering and trembling to Jack and his comrades.
"O musha, naybours!" says he, "wasn't it the height o' luck that threw
you in my way! Maybe I won't remember your kindness if ever I find you
in hardship; and where in the world are you all going?"
"We're going to seek our fortune till the harvest comes in; you may
join our party if you like, and sit on Neddy's crupper when your legs
and wings are tired."
Well, the march began again, and just as the sun was gone down they
looked around, and there was neither cabin nor farm house in sight.
"Well, well," says Jack, "the worse luck now the better another time,
and it's only a summer night after all. We'll go into the wood, and
make our bed on the long grass."
No sooner said than done. Jack stretched himself on a bunch of dry
grass, the ass lay near him, the dog and cat lay in the ass's warm lap,
and the cock went to roost in the next tree.
Well, the soundness of deep sleep was over them all, when the cock took
a notion of crowing.
"Bother you, Black Cock!" says the ass: "you disturbed me from as nice
a wisp of hay as ever I tasted. What's the matter?"
"It's daybreak that's the matter: don't you see light yonder?"
"I see a light indeed," says Jack, "but it's from a candle it's coming,
and not from the sun. As you've roused us we may as well go over, and
ask for lodging."
So they all shook themselves, and went on through grass, and rocks, and
briars, till they got down into a hollow, and there was the light
coming through the shadow, and along with it came singing, and
laughing, and cursing.
"Easy, boys!" says Jack: "walk on your tippy toes till we see what sort
of people we have to deal with."
So they crept near the window, and there they saw six robbers inside,
with pistols, and blunderbushes, and cutlashes, sitting at a table,
eating roast beef and pork, and drinking mulled beer, and wine, and
"Wasn't that a fine haul we made at the Lord of Dunlavin's!" says one
ugly-looking thief with his mouth full, "and it's little we'd get only
for the honest porter! here's his purty health!"
"The porter's purty health!" cried out every one of them, and Jack bent
his finger at his comrades.
"Close your ranks, my men," says he in a whisper, "and let every one
mind the word of command."
So the ass put his fore-hoofs on the sill of the window, the dog got on
the ass's head, the cat on the dog's head, and the cock on the cat's
head. Then Jack made a sign, and they all sung out like mad.