THE THREE LANGUAGES:
So the youth was again placed under the care of a first-rate master for a year.
On his return, his father asked him the same question.
" Father," said the boy, " I can now understand the language of birds."
Then was his father in a rage, and exclaimed, " Oh! you lost creature, has all this precious time been wasted in learning nothing, and are you not ashamed to appear in my presence ? However, I will try you once more with a third master; and if you make no more progress than you have done during the last two years with him, I will give you up—you shall be no longer my son."
So the youth went for a year to a third master, and on his return, when his father asked him what he had learned, he replied, " Dear father, I have this time learnt to understand the croaking of the frogs."
Then was the father in a greater rage than ever. He started up, called the household together, and said, " This youth is my son no longer; he shall not stay here. I order you to chase him from the house, and you are any of you at liberty to take his life !"
The servants drove him out, but they pitied him too much to kill him. So they let him go away unhurt; but they killed a stag, and sent the eyes and the tongue to the old count, to make him believe that his son had been killed, as he commanded.
The youth wandered away far from home in a very sad mood, and came at last to a roadside inn, and asked the landlord if he could give him a night's lodging.
" Willingly," replied the burgomaster, " if you do not mind taking up your abode for the night in the old tower; but I warn you that your life will be in danger, for the place is full of wild dogs, who bark, and howl, and constantly seize and devour human beings. The whole neighbourhood is kept in fear and terror about these dogs, and no one can do anything to get rid of them."
But the young man had no fear, and he said, ° Let me go to these barking and howling dogs, only give me something to throw to them, and I'll warrant they won't injure me."
As he would not sleep in the tower unless they agreed to his wishes, they gave him some meat for the wild animals, and then led him to the tower and left him.
As he entered, not one of the dogs barked at him, but wagged