The Bremen Town Musicians
Donkey, dog, cat and rooster become town musicians and drive robbers out of a house where they live from now on.
There was a man who had a donkey that had served him faithfully for many years, but whose strength was now running out, so that he became more and more unfit for work. Then the master wanted to get him out of the fodder, but the donkey noticed that there was no good wind blowing. So he ran away and made his way to Bremen. "There", he thought, "you can become a town musician". When he had gone a little while, he found a hound lying on the road, howling like one who has run himself tired." "Well, what are you whining about, dog?" asked the donkey. "Oh," said the dog, "because I'm old and getting weaker every day, and can't keep up with the hunt anymore, my master wanted to beat me to death, so I took to my heels. But with what am I supposed to earn my bread now"? "You know what," said the donkey, "I'm going to Bremen to become a town musician there. Go along and try music, too. I'll play the lute, and you hit the timpani." The dog liked the idea - and they went on.
It was not long before a cat was sitting by the path, making a face like three days of rainy weather. "Well, what's gotten into your way, old beard cleaner," spoke the donkey. "Who can be funny when you're in trouble," replied the cat. "Because I'm getting on in years, and my teeth are getting dull, and I'd rather sit behind the stove and spin than hunt around for mice, my wife wanted to drown me. I still managed to get away, but now good advice is expensive. Where shall I go?" "Go with us to Bremen, you know how to play night music. There you can become a town musician." The cat thought that was good and went along. Then the three fugitives passed a farm. There sat on the gate the house cock and screamed at the top of his lungs. "You are screaming through one's marrow," said the donkey, "what are you up to"? "Then I prophesied good weather for the dear landlady," said the rooster, "because she wants to wash clothes and dry them. As a thank you, and just because guests are coming tomorrow on Sunday, she told the cook that she wanted to eat me in the soup tomorrow - and that I should have my head cut off tonight. Now I'm screaming at the top of my lungs while I still can." "Eh what, you red-head," said the donkey, "you'd better go away with us, we'll go to Bremen, you'll find something better than death anywhere. You have a good voice, and if we make music together, it must go down well." The rooster liked the suggestion and all four of them went away together.
But they could not reach the city of Bremen in one day and in the evening they came to a forest where they wanted to spend the night. The donkey and the dog lay down under a big tree. The cat and the rooster made their way up. But the rooster flew up to the top, where it was safest for him. Before he fell asleep, he looked around once more to all four winds, and it seemed to him as if he saw a spark burning in the distance, and he called to his companions that there should not be a house too far away. For there was a light shining. Then the donkey said, "We must set out and go, for the inn here is bad. And the dog said, "yes, a few bones and some meat on them would do me good, too." Now they set out in the direction where the light came from, and soon saw it shimmering brighter. And it grew larger and larger until they came before a brightly lit robber's house. The Donkey, being the biggest, made his way to the window and looked in. "What do you see, gray horse," asked the rooster. "What I see," answered the donkey, "a laid table with beautiful food and drink. And robbers are sitting at it and having a good time". "That would be something for us," spoke the rooster. "Yes, yes, oh, if we were in there," said the donkey. So the animals consulted how they would have to start it to lure the robbers away. Until finally they found a way. The donkey had to stand on the window with his front feet, the dog had to climb on the donkey's back, the cat had to climb on the dog, and in the end the rooster flew up and sat on the cat's head. As soon as this was done, they began to make their music together at a signal. The donkey brayed, the dog barked, the cat meowed, and the rooster crowed. Then they rushed through the window into the parlor so that the windows rattled. The robbers took to their heights at the horrible screaming, thought nothing else than a ghost was coming in, and fled into the forest in the greatest fear. Now the four companions sat down at the table, made do with what was left over - and ate as if they were supposed to starve for four weeks.
When the four minstrels had finished, they turned out the light and looked for a place to sleep, each according to his nature and comfort. The donkey lay down on the dung, the dog behind the door, the cat on the stove to the warm ashes. And the cock sat down on the cock-beam. And because they were tired from their long journey, they soon fell asleep. When midnight had passed and the robbers saw from afar that no light was burning in the house and everything seemed quiet, the captain said, "we shouldn't have let ourselves be fooled after all," and sent one of them to investigate the house. The one who was sent found everything quiet, went into the kitchen to light a candle. And because he considered the cat's glowing, fiery eyes to be glowing coals, he held a match to it so that it should catch fire. But the cat did not understand any joke, jumped into his face, hissed and scratched. Then he was terrified, ran and wanted to go out the back door, but the dog that was lying there jumped up and bit him on the leg. And as he ran across the yard past the dunghill, the donkey gave him another good blow with his hind foot. The rooster, however, who had been awakened from his sleep by the noise, called down from the beam: "Cock-a-doodle-doo". Then the robber ran back to his captain as fast as he could and said: "Alas, in the house sits a grayish witch, who has breathed on me and scratched my face with her long fingers. And in front of the door there is a man with a knife, he has stabbed me in the leg. And in the courtyard there is a black monster who hit me with a wooden club. And up on the roof, there sits the judge, who shouted: "Bring me the rascal here". So I made my way away." From now on, the robbers did not dare to enter the house. But the four musicians from Bremen liked it so much that they did not want to leave. And the last person to tell this story still has a warm mouth.