5 6 THE ROG UES HO LID A Y.
" Little hen," said a young cock to his wife one day in autumn, " this is the time for nuts and acorns, let us go to the mountains and feast ourselves before they are all gone."
" That will be a happy time," said the hen. " Yes, I am quite ready."
So they started off together very early in the morning, and stayed all day feasting,
' Now I cannot say whether they had eaten too much, or if they really were tired; at all events, they could not walk home, so the cock made a little carriage of nut shells. No sooner was it finished than the hen seated herself in it, and said to the cock, " Come, you may as well harness yourself to the carriage and draw me home, you are stronger than I am."
" Very likely," he replied, " that I should allow myself to be harnessed like a horse and draw you; it would be better to walk home than to do that. No, if we have the carriage at all, I mean to be coachman and sit on the box, but I'm not going to draw you, indeed, so don't expect it."
While they were contending, a duck came by. " You thieves," she quacked, " what are you doing in my nut mountains ? be off quickly, or you will get the worst of it," and she gave the cock a tremendous peck with her beak.
But the cock was not going to stand that; he flew at the duck and beat her so with his spurs that she was obliged to beg for mercy, and at last allow herself to be harnessed to the little carriage as a punishment for her interference.
The cock sat on the box and drove at a furious rate, crying out, " Get on, duck ! get on !"
After travelling some distance they overtook two foot passengers—a pin and a needle. " Halt, halt," they cried, " do help us, we are so tired that we cannot go a step farther, night is coming on, the roads are so dusty, and we cannot sit down. We stopped at the door of a tailor's shop and asked for shelter, but he said he had too many like us already."