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The Dog And The Sparrow

A shepherd’s dog had a master who took no care of him, but often lethim suffer the greatest hunger. At last he could bea...

The Dog And The Sparrow

A shepherd’s dog had a master who took no care of him, but often lethim suffer the greatest hunger. At last he could bear it no longer; sohe took to his heels, and off he ran in a very sad and sorrowful mood.On the road he met a sparrow that said to him, «Why are you sosad, my friend?» «Because,» said the dog, «I am very very hungry, andhave nothing to eat.» «If that be all,» answered the sparrow, «come withme into the next town, and I will soon find you plenty of food.» Soon they went together into the town: and as they passed by a butcher’sshop, the sparrow said to the dog, «Stand there a little while till Ipeck you down a piece of meat.»

So the sparrow perched upon the shelf:and having first looked carefully about her to see if anyone waswatching her, she pecked and scratched at a steak that lay upon the edgeof the shelf, till at last down it fell. Then the dog snapped it up, andscrambled away with it into a corner, where he soon ate it all up.«Well,» said the sparrow, «you shall have some more if you will; socome with me to the next shop, and I will peck you down anothersteak.» When the dog had eaten this too, the sparrow said to him,«Well, my good friend, have you had enough now?» «I have had plentyof meat,» answered he, «but I should like to have a piece of bread toeat after it.» «Come with me then,» said the sparrow, «and you shallsoon have that too.» So she took him to a baker’s shop, and pecked attwo rolls that lay in the window, till they fell down: and as the dogstill wished for more, she took him to another shop and pecked downsome more for him. When that was eaten, the sparrow asked him whetherhe had had enough now.

«Yes,» said he; «and now let us take a walk alittle way out of the town.» So they both went out upon the high road;but as the weather was warm, they had not gone far before the dogsaid, «I am very much tired—I should like to take a nap.» «Very well,’answered the sparrow, «do so, and in the meantime I will perch upon thatbush.» So the dog stretched himself out on the road, and fell fastasleep. Whilst he slept, there came by a carter with a cart drawn bythree horses, and loaded with two casks of wine. The sparrow, seeingthat the carter did not turn out of the way, but would go on in thetrack in which the dog lay, so as to drive over him, called out, «Stop!stop! Mr Carter, or it shall be the worse for you.» But the carter,grumbling to himself, «You make it the worse for me, indeed! what canyou do?» cracked his whip, and drove his cart over the poor dog, sothat the wheels crushed him to death. «There,» cried the sparrow,«thou cruel villain, thou hast killed my friend the dog. Now mindwhat I say. This deed of thine shall cost thee all thou art worth.’«Do your worst, and welcome,» said the brute, «what harm can you dome?» and passed on. But the sparrow crept under the tilt of the cart,and pecked at the bung of one of the casks till she loosened it; andthan all the wine ran out, without the carter seeing it. At last helooked round, and saw that the cart was dripping, and the cask quiteempty. «What an unlucky wretch I am!» cried he. «Not wretch enoughyet!» said the sparrow, as she alighted upon the head of one of thehorses, and pecked at him till he reared up and kicked. When thecarter saw this, he drew out his hatchet and aimed a blow at thesparrow, meaning to kill her; but she flew away, and the blow fell uponthe poor horse’s head with such force, that he fell down dead.«Unlucky wretch that I am!» cried he. «Not wretch enough yet!» saidthe sparrow. And as the carter went on with the other two horses, sheagain crept under the tilt of the cart, and pecked out the bung of thesecond cask, so that all the wine ran out. When the carter saw this,he again cried out, «Miserable wretch that I am!» But the sparrowanswered, «Not wretch enough yet!» and perched on the head of thesecond horse, and pecked at him too. The carter ran up and struck ather again with his hatchet; but away she flew, and the blow fellupon the second horse and killed him on the spot. «Unlucky wretch thatI am!» said he. «Not wretch enough yet!» said the sparrow; andperching upon the third horse, she began to peck him too. The carterwas mad with fury; and without looking about him, or caring what he wasabout, struck again at the sparrow; but killed his third horse as hedone the other two. «Alas! miserable wretch that I am!» cried he. «Notwretch enough yet!» answered the sparrow as she flew away; «now will Iplague and punish thee at thy own house.» The carter was forced atlast to leave his cart behind him, and to go home overflowing withrage and vexation. «Alas!» said he to his wife, «what ill luck hasbefallen me!—my wine is all spilt, and my horses all three dead.» «Alas!husband,» replied she, «and a wicked bird has come into the house, andhas brought with her all the birds in the world, I am sure, and theyhave fallen upon our corn in the loft, and are eating it up at sucha rate!» Away ran the husband upstairs, and saw thousands of birdssitting upon the floor eating up his corn, with the sparrow in the midstof them. «Unlucky wretch that I am!» cried the carter; for he saw thatthe corn was almost all gone. «Not wretch enough yet!» said thesparrow; «thy cruelty shall cost thee they life yet!» and away sheflew.

The carter seeing that he had thus lost all that he had, went downinto his kitchen; and was still not sorry for what he had done, but sathimself angrily and sulkily in the chimney corner. But the sparrowsat on the outside of the window, and cried «Carter! thy cruelty shallcost thee thy life!» With that he jumped up in a rage, seized hishatchet, and threw it at the sparrow; but it missed her, and only brokethe window. The sparrow now hopped in, perched upon the window-seat,and cried, «Carter! it shall cost thee thy life!» Then he became madand blind with rage, and struck the window-seat with such force thathe cleft it in two: and as the sparrow flew from place to place, thecarter and his wife were so furious, that they broke all theirfurniture, glasses, chairs, benches, the table, and at last the walls,without touching the bird at all. In the end, however, they caughther: and the wife said, «Shall I kill her at once?» «No,» cried he,«that is letting her off too easily: she shall die a much more crueldeath; I will eat her.» But the sparrow began to flutter about, andstretch out her neck and cried, «Carter! it shall cost thee thy lifeyet!» With that he could wait no longer: so he gave his wife thehatchet, and cried, «Wife, strike at the bird and kill her in myhand.» And the wife struck; but she missed her aim, and hit herhusband on the head so that he fell down dead, and the sparrow flewquietly home to her nest.

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