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A Cheating Bird

A little bird went to a tailor and ordered a little, woolen coat from him. The tailor measured the bird and agreed with him to have it ready for him in three days. Then the bird went to a hatter and ordered a little hat. The hatter promised to have the hat ready in three days, as the tailor also had done. At last the little bird went to a shoemaker. The shoemaker measured the feet of the little bird and said the shoes would be ready on the third day.

When the appointed time came, the bird went to the tailor. The tailor had the little woollen coat ready. The bird said to him: "Put it on my little bill, and I will pay you."

The tailor did, but instead of paying him, the little rogue flew away. He played the same trick with the hatter, and then the shoemaker.

Then the little bird dressed himself in the new things and went to the king's garden. There he placed himself on a tree branch right outside the banqueting room. While the king was dining, the bird sang:

In my little woolen coat I am as fine
As the king in his scarlet mantle.

The bird sang and sang again his song so many times that the king got angry and ordered it to be caught and caged, and then brought before him. This was done. When caged, little bird saw the angry king sitting in front of his cage, he began to shout left and right and flap its wings until the doctors of the king told him that he could catch a draught from all the flapping. One of them opened the cage to take the coat and hat and shoes away from the basking bird for a little. But when the cage door was opened the coatless bird flew out of the cage and into the garden again. There it rubbed itself with some glue and asked other birds to give it a little feather. Each did so, and since the feathers were of a different colour, the little bird ended up with having as many colours as the rainbow. He thought that as long as the glue lasted he was even prettier than when he wore had a coat, hat and shoes on.

Then he went and fluttered about the tree that was right in front of the king's balcony, singing lustily:

Did the people see what happened to me?
That from the king I came free?

The king disliked it and called: "Catch that bird!" But the little bird was now forewarned, and flew far away from there until at last he found a good branch to perch on.




The Fox and the Goose

A fox and a goose were very great friends. The goose was a very honest and industrious bird, and one day said to the fox: "Friend fox, I own some land here. If you would care to join me, we will cultivate it together."

"That would please me greatly," the fox answered.

"Then we will have to till it together when the season for it comes," said the goose.

"Very well," answered the fox.

A little afterward, when they met again, the goose said, "It's time to sow the seed."

"That's your business," said the fox. "I have nothing to do with that."

Some months passed, and then thegoose said to the fox: "Friencl, the grass is choking the wheat. It is necessary to weed the field."

"Very well," answered the fox. "You see to that; it isn't my business."

A short time passed by, and then the goose said to the fox: "Friend, the wheat it ripe and must be reaped."

"All right," answered the fox. "You attend to that; it isn't my business."

Then the goose, for all its good nature, began to be distrustful and told its friend the greyhound what had passed. The greyhound was shrewd, and saw at once that the fox was about to play one of its tricks on the good-natured goose, so he told the goose:

"Reap the wheat; put it in the barn and hide me in a sheaf of corn leaving one of my eyes uncovered so that I may see everything that happens."

The goose did as the greyhound had said. After a time the fox came, for he saw the barn had been n filled with splendid wheat and the wheat was already thrashed. The fox was very delighted and sang while it danced about:

Lio lio,
The straw and the wheat are mine!
Lio lio,
The straw and the wheat are mine!

As the fox sang this, it came close to the sheaf the greyhound was hidden in. Then the fox say an eye among the straw. He said: "Ah, a grape!"

At that moment the greyhound leaped out of its hiding-place and killed the fox.


Notes to fairy tales from Spain and Portugal



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