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Street musicians.

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

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"What is to be seen, old Grey Horse?" said the rooster. "What do I see?" answered the donkey. "Why, a table spread with plenty to eat and drink, and robbers sitting at it and having a good time." "That ought to be our supper," said the rooster. "Yes, yes," the donkey answered; "how I wish we were inside." Then they talked together about how they should drive the robbers away. At last they made a plan that they thought would work. The donkey was to stand on his hind legs and place his forefeet on the window-sill. The dog was to stand on his back. The cat was to stand on the dog's shoulders, and the rooster promised to light upon the cat's head. As soon as they were all ready they began to play their music together. The donkey brayed, the dog barked, the cat mewed, the rooster crowed. They made such a noise that the window rattled.

The robbers, hearing the dreadful din, were terribly frightened, and ran as fast as they could to the woods. The four comrades, rushing in, hurried to the table and ate as if they had had nothing for a month. When they had finished their meal they put out the light, and each one chose a good bed for the night. The donkey lay down at full length in the yard, the dog crouched behind the door, the cat curled herself up on the hearth in front of the fire, while the rooster flew to the roof of the hut. They were all so tired after their long journey that they were soon fast asleep. About midnight one of the robbers, seeing that the light was out and all quiet, said to his chief: "I do not think that we had any reason to be afraid, after all." Then he called one of his robbers and sent him to the house to see if it was all right. The robber, finding everything quiet, went into the kitchen to light a match. Seeing the glaring, fiery eyes of the cat, he thought they were live coals, and held a match toward them that he might light it. But Puss was frightened; she spat at him and scratched his face. This frightened the robber so terribly that he rushed to the door, but the dog, who lay there, sprang out at him and bit him on the leg as he went by.

In the yard he ran against the donkey, who gave him a savage kick, while the rooster on the roof cried out as loud as he could, "_Cock-a-doodle-doo_." Then the robber ran back to his chief. "Oh! oh!" he cried, "in that house is a horrible woman, who flew at me and scratched me down the face with her long fingers. Then by the door stood a man with a knife, who stabbed me in the leg, and out in the yard lay a monster who struck me a hard blow with a huge club; and up on the roof sat the judge, who cried, 'Bring me the scoundrel here.' You may be sure I ran away as fast as I could go." The robbers never went back to the house, but got away from that place as quickly as they could. The four musicians liked their new home so well that they thought no more of going on to the city. The last we heard of them, they were still there and having happy times together.


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