GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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this cackled loudly and laid her broad breast on the ground; the cock scratched away quickly to make a hole; the duck, however, got into trouble for she jumped into an open grave, and sprained her leg so terribly that she was obliged to waddle away to the nearest pond with the cry, " Rare work, rare work !" ;
The little bird without a name, however, went in search of a mouse-hole, and as he slipped in, he cried with his shrill voice, "I am king—I am king !"
"You our king !".cried the other birds, in a rage. "Do you suppose your cunning tricks can obtain you that honour?" So they shut him up and made him a prisoner in the mouse-hole, hoping he might be starved, and the owl was placed sentinel to prevent the little rogue from escaping, however dear his life might be to him.
In the evening, all the birds felt very tired with the great efforts they had made in flying, so they all went home with their wives and children to bed. The owl alone remained by the mouse-hole, staring into it with her great, grave eyes ; but at length she also be­came tired, and said to herself, " I can easily shut one eye, and if I keep the other open, the little wretch shall not escape." She closed one eye, and with the other kept a steadfast look on the mouse-hole.
The little fellow peeped out once or twice, and thought, as the owl appeared asleep, that he could slip away; but the owl saw him, and made such a quick step forward that he darted back in a hurry. A little while after, the owl thought she would rest one eye and open the other, and so keep on changing all night; but when she closed one, she forgot to open the other, and very soon both eyes were shut up, and she was fast asleep.
The little one again peeped out, and saw that now he could easily escape, so he slipped cautiously from the hole and flew away. From that time the owl has never dared to show herself by day­light, lest the other birds should peck off her feathers and pull her to pieces ; so she flies about in the night time, and pursues and catches the mice who can make such dangerous holes. And the little bird also keeps out of her way, for he fears she will catch him by the neck and soon make an end of him. He lives in the hedges and builds his nest there, and is constantly crying out, in a piping