THE TOWN MUSICIANS.
So they were very soon on their way to the place where the light shone, and it grew larger and brighter as they approached till they saw that it came from the window of a robber's cave. The ass, who was the tallest, went near and looked in,
" What is to be seen, old grey horse ?" said the cock.
" What do I see ?" answered the ass ; " why a table laid out with plenty to eat and drink, and robbers sitting at it and enjoying themselves."
" That ought to be our supper," said the cock. " Yes, yes," the ass replied, " if we were only inside." Then the animals consulted together as to what they had better do to drive the robbers away; at last they fixed upon a plan.
The ass was to stand on his hind legs and place his fore-feet on the window-sill, and the dog to stand on his back. The cat was then to climb on the dog, and above them all, the cock promised to fly and perch on the cat's head.
As soon as this was accomplished, at a signal given, they all began to perform their music together. The donkey brayed, the hound barked, the cat mewed, and the cock crowed with such a tremendous force through the window into the room that the window rattled.
The robbers hearing such a horrible outcry above them thought it could only be caused by supernatural beings, and fled in great terror to the wood behind the house. Then our four comrades rushed in, placed themselves near or upon the table and took whatever was before them, which the robbers had left, and ate as if they had been hungry for a month.
When the four musicians had finished, they put out the light, and each sought a sleeping-place most easy and suitable to his nature and habits. The ass laid himself down at full length in the yard, the dog crouched behind the door, the cat rolled herself up on the hearth among the warm ashes, while the cock perched on the beam in the roof, and they were all so tired with their long journey that they were soon fast asleep.
About midnight, one of the robbers from a distance, seeing that the light was out and all quiet, told their chief, who said—
" I do not think there has been any cause for fear after all."
Then he called one of their number and -sent him to the house to see if it was all right.