HERE was once an ass whose master had made him carry sacks to the mill for many a long year, but whose strength began at last to fail, so that each day as it came found him less capable of work. Then his master began to think of turning him out, but the ass, guessing that something was in the wind that boded him no good, ran away, taking the road to Bremen; for there he thought he might get an engagement as town musician. When he had gone a little way he found a hound lying by the side of the road panting, as if he had run a long way.
" Now, Holdfast, what are you so out of breath about ? " said the ass.
- "Oh dear !" said the dog, " now I am old, I get weaker every day, and can do no good in the hunt, so, as my master was going to have me killed, I have made my escape; but now, how am I to gain a living ? "
" I will tell you what," said the ass, " I am going to Bremen to become town musician. You may as well go with me, and take up music too. I can play the lute, and you can beat the drum."
And the dog consented, and they walked on together. It was not long before they came to a cat sitting in the road, looking as dismal as three wet days.
"Now then, what is the matter with you, old shaver?" said the ass.