318 THE STREET MUSICIANS
' It's impossible to look cheerful when one feels depressed,' answered the cat. ' I am well up in years now, and have lost most of my teeth; consequently I prefer sitting in front of the fire to catching mice, and so my old mistress wanted to drown me. I have no wish to die yet, so I ran away from her; but good advice is expensive, and I don't know where I am to go to, or what I am to do.'
' Come to the nearest big town with us,' said the donkey, ' and try your fortune as a street musician. I know what sweet music you make at night, so you are sure to be a success.'
The cat was delighted with the donkey's proposal, and they all continued their journey together. In a short time they came to the courtyard of an inn, where they found a cock crowing lustily. ' What in the world is the matter with you ?' asked the donkey. ' The noise you are making is enough to break the drums of our ears.'
' I am only prophesying good weather,' said the cock; ' for to-morrow is a feast day, and just because it is a holiday and a number of people are expected at the inn, the landlady has given orders for my neck to be wrung to-night, so that I may be made into soup for to-morrow's dinner.'
'I'll tell you what, redcap,'said the donkey; 'you had much better come with us to the nearest town. You have got a good voice, and could join a street band we are getting up.' The cock was much pleased with the idea, and the party proceeded on their way.
But the nearest big town was a long way off, and it took them more than a day to reach it. In the evening they came to a wood, and they made up their minds to go no further, but to spend the night there. The donkey and the greyhound lay down under a big tree, and the cat and the cock got up into the branches, the cock flying right up to the topmost twig, where he thought he would be safe from all danger. Before he went to sleep he