View Full Version : The Dog and the Sparrow

November 24th, 2008, 02:39 AM
The Dog and the Sparrow

There was once upon a time a sheep-dog whose master was so unkind
that he starved the poor beast, and ill- treated him in the
cruellest manner. At last the dog determined to stand this
ill-usage no longer, and, one day, he ran away from home. As he
was trotting along the road he met a sparrow, who stopped him and
said: 'Brother, why do you look so sad?'

The dog answered: 'I am sad because I am hungry, and have nothing
to eat.'

'If that's all, dear brother,' said the sparrow, 'come to the
town with me, and I'll soon get food for you.'

So they went together to the town, and when they came to a
butcher's shop, the sparrow said to the dog: 'You stand still and
I'll peck down a piece of meat for you.'

First she looked all round to see that no one was watching her,
and then she set to work to peck at a piece of meat that lay on
the edge of a shelf, till at last it fell down. The dog seized it
ravenously, and ran with it to a dark corner where he gobbled it
up in a very few minutes.

When he had finished it, the sparrow said: 'Now come with me to
another shop, and I will get you a second piece, so that your
hunger may be satisfied.' When the dog had finished the second
piece of meat, the sparrow asked him: 'Brother, have you had
enough now?'

'Yes,' replied the dog, 'I've had quite enough meat, but I
haven't had any bread yet.'

The sparrow said: 'You shall have as much bread as you like, only
come with me.' Then she led him to a baker's shop, and pecked so
long at two rolls on a shelf that at last they fell down, and the
dog ate them up.

But still his hunger was not appeased; so the sparrow took him to
another baker's shop, and got some more rolls for him. Then she
asked him: 'Well, brother, are you satisfied?'

'Yes,' he replied; 'and now let us go for a little walk outside
the town.'

So the two went for a stroll into the country; but the day was
very hot, and after they had gone a short distance the dog said:
'I am very tired, and would like to go to sleep.'

'Sleep, then,' said the sparrow, 'and I will keep watch meantime
on the branch of a tree.'

So the dog lay down in the middle of the road, and was soon fast
asleep. While he was sleeping a carter passed by, driving a
waggon drawn by three horses, and laden with two barrels of wine.
The sparrow noticed that the man was not going out of his way to
avoid the dog, but was driving right in the middle of the road
where the poor animal lay; so she called out: 'Carter, take care
what you are about, or I shall make you suffer for it.'

But the carter merely laughed at her words, and, cracking his
whip, he drove his waggon right over the dog, so that the heavy
wheels killed him.

Then the sparrow called out: 'You have caused my brother's death,
and your cruelty will cost you your waggon and horses.'

'Waggon and horses, indeed,' said the carter; 'I'd like to know
how you could rob me of them!'

The sparrow said nothing, but crept under the cover of the waggon
and pecked so long at the bunghole of one of the barrels that at
last she got the cork away, and all the wine ran out without the
carter's noticing it.

But at last he turned round and saw that the bottom of the cart
was wet, and when he examined it, he found that one of the
barrels was quite empty. 'Oh! what an unlucky fellow I am!' he

'You'll have worse luck still,' said the sparrow, as she perched
on the head of one of the horses and pecked out its eyes.

When the carter saw what had happened, he seized an axe and tried
to hit the sparrow with it, but the little bird flew up into the
air, and the carter only hit the blind horse on the head, so that
it fell down dead. 'Oh! what an unlucky fellow I am!' he
exclaimed again.

'You'll have worse luck yet,' said the sparrow; and when the
carter drove on with his two horses she crept under the covering
again, and pecked away at the cork of the second barrel till she
got it away, and all the wine poured out on to the road.

When the carter perceived this fresh disaster he called out once
more: 'Oh! what an unlucky fellow I am!'

But the sparrow answered: 'Your bad luck is not over yet,' and
flying on to the head of the second horse she pecked out its

The carter jumped out of the waggon and seized his axe, with
which he meant to kill the sparrow; but the little bird flew high
into the air, and the blow fell on the poor blind horse instead,
and killed it on the spot. Then the carter exclaimed: 'Oh! what
an unlucky fellow I am!'

'You've not got to the end of your bad luck yet,' sang the
sparrow; and, perching on the head of the third horse, she pecked
out its eyes.

The carter, blind with rage, let his axe fly at the bird; but
once more she escaped the blow, which fell on the only remaining
horse, and killed it. And again the carter called out: 'Oh! what
an unlucky fellow I am!'

'You'll have worse luck yet,' said the sparrow, 'for now I mean
to make your home desolate.'

The carter had to leave his waggon on the road, and he went home
in a towering passion. As soon as he saw his wife, he called out:
'Oh! what bad luck I have had! all my wine is spilt, and my
horses are all three dead.'

'My dear husband,' replied his wife, 'your bad luck pursues you,
for a wicked little sparrow has assembled all the other birds in
the world, and they are in our barn eating everything up.'

The carter went out to the barn where he kept his corn and found
it was just as his wife had said. Thousands and thousands of
birds were eating up the grain, and in the middle of them sat the
little sparrow. When he saw his old enemy, the carter cried out:
'Oh! what an unlucky fellow I am!'

'Not unlucky enough yet,' answered the sparrow; 'for, mark my
words, carter, your cruel conduct will cost you your life;' and
with these words she flew into the air.

The carter was much depressed by the loss of all his worldly
goods, and sat down at the fire plotting vengeance on the
sparrow, while the little bird sat on the window ledge and sang
in mocking tones: 'Yes, carter, your cruel conduct will cost you
your life.'

Then the carter seized his axe and threw it at the sparrow, but
he only broke the window panes, and did not do the bird a bit of
harm. She hopped in through the broken window and, perching on
the mantelpiece, she called out; 'Yes, carter, it will cost you
your life.'

The carter, quite beside himself with rage, flew at the sparrow
again with his axe, but the little creature always eluded his
blows, and he only succeeded in destroying all his furniture. At
last, however, he managed to catch the bird in his hands. Then
his wife called out: 'Shall I wring her neck?'

'Certainly not,' replied her husband, 'that would be far too easy
a death for her; she must die in a far crueller fashion than
that. I will eat her alive;' and he suited the action to his
words. But the sparrow fluttered and struggled inside him till
she got up into the man's mouth, and then she popped out her head
and said: 'Yes, carter, it will cost you your life.'

The carter handed his wife the axe, and said: 'Wife, kill the
bird in my mouth dead.'

The woman struck with all her might, but she missed the bird and
hit the carter right on the top of his head, so that he fell down
dead. But the sparrow escaped out of his mouth and flew away into
the air.

[From the German, Kletke.]