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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.

Street musicians.

From The Book of Stories for the Storyteller by Fanny E. Coe.

Start of Story

A donkey who had carried sacks to the mill for his master a great many years became so weak that he could not work for a living any longer. His master thought that he would get rid of his old servant, that he might save the cost of his food. The donkey heard of this, and made up his mind to run away. So he took the road to a great city where he had often heard the street band play. "For," thought he, "I can make music as well as they." He had gone but a little way when he came to a dog stretched out in the middle of the road and panting for breath, as if tired from running. "Why are you panting so, friend?" asked the donkey. "Oh, dear!" he replied. "Now that I am old and growing weaker and weaker, and am not able to hunt any more, my master has ordered that I should be killed. So I have run away, but how I am to earn a living I am sure I do not know." "Will you come with me?" said the donkey. "You see, I am going to try my luck as a street musician in the city. I think we might easily earn a living by music. You can play the bass drum and I can play the flute."

"I will go," said the dog, and they both walked on together. Not long after they saw a cat sitting in the road, with a face as dismal as three days of rainy weather. "Now what has happened to you, old Whiskers?" said the donkey. "How can I be happy when I am in fear for my life?" said the cat. "I am getting old, and my teeth are only stumps. I cannot catch mice any longer, and I like to lie behind the stove and purr. But when I found that they were going to drown me, away I ran as fast as my four legs could carry me. But now that I have come away, what am I to do?" "Go with us to the city," said the donkey. "You often give night concerts, I know, so you can easily become a street musician." "With all my heart," said the cat, so she walked on with them. After travelling quite a long distance the three "runaways" came to a farmyard, and on the gate stood a rooster, crowing with all his might. "Why are you standing there and making such a fuss?" said the donkey.

"I will tell you," replied the rooster. "I heard the cook say that there is company coming on Wednesday and she will want me to put into the soup. That evening my head will be cut off, so I shall crow at the top of my voice as long as I can." "Listen, Red Comb," said the donkey. "Would you like to run away with us? We are going to the city, and you will find something better there than to be made into soup. You have a fine voice, and we are all musicians." The rooster was glad to go, and all four went on together. They could not reach the city in one day, and evening came on just as they reached a wood, so they agreed to stay there all night.

The donkey and the dog lay down under a large tree, the cat stretched herself out on one of the branches, and the rooster flew to the top, where he felt quite safe. Before they slept the rooster, who from his high roost could see every way, spied far off a tiny light, and calling to his comrades told them he thought they were near a house in which a light was shining. "Then," said the donkey, "we must rouse up and go on to this light, for no doubt we shall find a good stopping-place there." The dog said he would be glad of a little piece of meat, or a couple of bones if he could get nothing more. Very soon they were on their way to the place where the light shone. It grew larger and brighter as they came nearer to it, till they saw that it came from the window of a small hut. The donkey, who was the tallest, went near and looked in.


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