There was once a donkey whose master had made him carry sacks to the mill for many a long year. His strength finally began to fail so that he couldn’t work much and his master wanted to turn him out.
The donkey knew this and ran away to Bremen where he thought he might be a town musician.
When he had gone a little way, he found a hound lying by the side of the road. The donkey asked, “What are you so out of breath about?"
"Now I am old,” said the dog, “and I can’t hunt anymore. My master was going to kill me.”
"I am going to Bremen to become a town musician.” said the donkey. “You may come with me. I can play the lute and you can beat the drum." The dog readily agreed, and they walked on together.
It was not long before they came to a cat sitting in the road. "What is the matter with you?" said the donkey.
“I am old and my teeth are getting blunt,” answered the cat. “I can’t catch mice, so my mistress wanted to drown me.”
"Come with us to Bremen," said the donkey, "and become a town musician. You understand serenading." The cat thought well of the idea and joined them.
The three travelers then passed by a yard and met a cock who was crowing. "Your cries are enough to pierce bone and marrow," said the donkey. "What is the matter?"
"I have predicted good weather, but the cook wants to make me into soup. I am crowing with all my might while I still can."
"You had much better come with us," said the donkey. "We are going to Bremen. You have a powerful voice and, when we are all performing together, it will have a very good effect." The cock agreed, and all four went on together.
But Bremen was too far off to be reached in one day so, as evening approached, they came to a wood and decided to spend the night there.
The donkey and the dog lay down under a large tree while the cat climbed up among the branches and the cock flew up to the top.
Before the cock went to sleep he saw a little light shining in the distance and called out to his companions that there must be a house not far away. They all set off in the direction of the light until at last it led them to the house.
The donkey, being the biggest, went up to the window and looked in. He saw robbers sitting around a table covered with splendid food and drink.
They discussed how to get the robbers out of the house and finally hit upon a plan.
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