This amusing story by the Brothers Grimm is about four farm animals who are convinced they can earn a good living as musicians. Indeed they do, but it isn’t really the sweetness of their barking, braying, mewing, and cockle-doodle-doing, that earns them their supper – it’s more the terror of the sound they make!
Read by Natasha. Duration 9.50.
Proofread by Claire Deakin.
A certain man had a donkey, which had carried the corn sacks to the mill loyally for many a long year; but his strength was going, and he was growing more and more unfit for work. His master began to wonder if it was worth his while by keeping this old donkey much longer.
The donkey, seeing that no good wind was blowing, ran away and set out on the road to Bremen. “There,” he thought, “I can surely be town musician.”
When he had walked some distance, he found a dog lying on the road, gasping like one who had run until he was tired. “What are you gasping so for, you big fellow?” Asked the donkey.
“Ah,” replied the dog, “as I am old, and grow weaker daily; I can no longer hunt. My master wanted to kill me, so I ran away, but now how am I to earn my bread?”
“I’ll tell you what,” said the donkey, “I am going to Bremen, and shall be a town musician there; come with me and work also as a musician. I will play the lute, and you shall beat the kettledrum.”
The dog agreed, and so on they went. Not before long they came to a cat, sitting on the path with a face like three rainy days! “Now then, old fluff and claws, what has gone so wrong with you?” Asked the donkey.
“Who can be merry when his neck is in danger?” Answered the cat. “Because I am now getting old, my teeth are worn to stumps, and I prefer to sit by the fire and spin, rather than hunt about after mice. My mistress wanted to drown me, so I ran away. Now good advice is scarce. Where am I to go?”
“Go with us to Bremen. You understand night music so you can be a town musician.”
The cat thought well of it and decided to go with them. After this the three runaways came to a farmyard, where the cockerel was sitting upon the gate, cock-a-doodle-doing with all his might. “Your cock-a-doodle-do goes through and through my skull,” said the donkey. “What is the matter?”
“Guests are coming on Sunday and the housewife has no pity,” said the cockerel, “and has told the cook that she intends to eat me in the soup tomorrow, and this evening I am to have my head cut off. Now I am cock-a-doodle-doing at full pitch while I can.”
“Ah you red-headed bird,” said the donkey, “you had better come away with us. We are going to Bremen; you can find something better than death everywhere. You have a good voice, and if we make music together it must have some quality!”
The cockerel agreed to this plan, and all four went on together. They could not, however, reach the city of Bremen in one day, and in the evening they came to a forest where they meant to pass the night. The donkey and the dog laid themselves down under a large tree, the cat and cockerel settled themselves in the branches – but the cockerel flew right to the top, where he was most safe. Before he went to sleep, he called out to his companions that there must be a house not far off, for he saw a light. The donkey said: “If so, we had better get up and go on, for the shelter here is bad.” The dog thought that a few bones with some meat on would do him good too!
So they moved further on, and soon saw the light shine brighter and grow larger, until they came to a well lit robber’s house. The donkey, as the biggest, went to the window and looked in: “What do you see, my grey horse?” Asked the cockerel. “What do I see?” Answered the donkey. “A table covered with good things to eat and drink, and robbers sitting at it enjoying themselves.”
“That would be just the sort of thing for us,” said the cockerel. “Yes, yes. Ah, how I wish we were there!” Said the donkey.
Then the animals put their heads together and schemed how to best win an invitation to come inside and join the robbers at the table.
“Come, come my friends,” said the donkey. “We are musicians, so let us sing for our supper.”
They began to perform their music together: The donkey brayed, the dog barked, the cat mewed, and the cockerel cock-a-doodle-do’ed. Then they burst through the window into the room, so that the glass clattered! At this horrible din, the robbers sprang up, thinking no otherwise than a ghost had come in, and they fled in a great fright out into the forest. The four companions now sat down at the table, well content with what was left, and ate as if they were going to fast for a month.
As soon as the four musicians had done, they put out the light, and each found a sleeping place according to his nature and to what suited him. The donkey laid himself down upon some straw in the yard, the dog behind the door, the cat upon the hearth near the warm ashes, and the cockerel perched himself upon a beam of the roof; and being tired from their long walk, they soon went to sleep.
When it was past midnight, the robbers saw from afar that the light was no longer burning in their house. Appearing quiet, the captain said: “We ought not to have let ourselves be frightened out of our wits,” and ordered one of them to go and examine the house.
The messenger finding all was still, went into the kitchen to light a candle, and taking the glistening fiery eyes of the cat for burning coals, he held the candle to them to light it. The cat did not understand what he meant to do, however, and flew in his face, spitting and scratching. He was dreadfully frightened, and ran to the back door, but the dog, who lay there sprang up and bit his leg. As he ran across the yard by the straw heap, the donkey gave him a smart kick with its hind foot. The cockerel too, who had been awakened by the noise, had become lively, and cried down from the beam, “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”
Then the robber ran back as fast as he could to his captain and said: Ah, there is a horrible witch sitting in the house, who spat on me and scratched my face with her long claws; and by the door stands a man with a knife who stabbed me in the leg, and in the yard there lies a black monster who beat me with a wooden club. Above, upon the roof, sits the judge, who called out: “Bring the rogue here to me!” So I got away as well as I could.”
After this the robbers did not trust themselves in the house again; but it suited the four musicians of Bremen so well that they did not care to leave it anymore.
I LIKE THE STORY. I REALY LIKED THE DONKEY A LOT. IT WAS A GOIOD STORY…….
February 15, 2010
neato misquito! golly, I thought that was interesting!!!!!!!!!!! kekenamee age 32
February 15, 2010
Hi, it’s very nice – I was all time laughing.
Thank you 🙂
February 17, 2010
i can sleep the night only if i here any of these stories
February 19, 2010
April 4, 2010
be comparatively good~
rosa rosa —
June 2, 2010
thanks a lot Natasha
June 24, 2010
Oh, I red this book. This book was impressed me and I thought this book was surprised and increased imagine.
And this characters were funny and had real real character. I was satisfied with these characters. Fighiting!
Uniting together in love.
I think I can sing if anyone would like to hear it?
September 18, 2010
Thank you Natasha. I have been to Bremen last year and I have actually met the town musicians 🙂
September 22, 2010
This is one of my favorite stories!! i love how the robbers get so scared by animals that were supposed to be killed.
September 23, 2010
i like this site this site is very special for the poor
oscar jamuar —
September 27, 2010
I was so marvelous it is also so funny and very good and good story thank you Natasha.
September 30, 2010
This story is different because when the donkey found the dog he didn’t look and he stepped on the dog and the donkey quickly apologized and then the dog came down and then the dog asked the donkey where they were going and the donkey said i’m going to Bremen. And then they became friends and then they walked to Bremen.And then they came to a strange place with fur all around and then they saw a really old cat and the cat asked where they were going and then the donkey and the dog said where they were going and they said Bremen. And they became friends and the more they walked the more they talked. And then when they were walking and they saw a rooster on a farmhouse and he looked really nervous, and he wsa walking back and forth and back and forth and the rooster said the farmer and the wife wanted to cook him into a soup. And then the rooster asked them where they were going and the donkey and the dog and the cat said we are going to Bremen. And then the rooster it’s getting night and I saw a house with a strange light on the top and you could go there to sleep and have a dinner. And then the donkey asked where they were going and then the donkey and the cat and the dog said they were going to Bremen. And then they all became friends and then they kept walking and they found the farmhouse in the night and then they thought if we sing out the window the farmer and the wife will oh that singing voice is so nice, I could invite them in the house and give them something to eat and a place to sleep. And there were robbers in the house, and they started singing and the robbers thought ghosts were singing in the night. And all the robbers ran away. And then, one of the robbers didn’t believe in ghosts, and then he started walking really soft and the robber found a match and he thought there were glowing eyes from the cat and he thought it was the fireplace and when he lit the fire there the fire jumped on the robber’s face and scratched his face and hit with the tail his face and the dog bit him on the leg and then the robber ran away and then he believed in ghosts. And that’t the end of the story.
October 6, 2010
Yeah thats the version i know to
October 21, 2016
These story’s are really good there not just good they
are fantastic .
October 12, 2010
this is a good story i like what Ericsaid a verry nice comment i like
October 14, 2010
Thanks, Eric, for your story. It is better if you have the audio, because the writing is too small to read. When I read your story, my eyes crossed each other.
October 16, 2010
hello Bertie!how are you?I hope that you were be good.
I have two favor for you Bertie:
can you put some more junior stories on storynory plz?
2.answer my massage!
****thanx and Love from Lucy****
November 4, 2010
i love story nory its the best i love little red riding hood
I do not think this story is suited well for young minds. Then on the other hand what’s on the news is to no compare. So bravo to the storytellers on educating us on murder and robbery. My children enjoyed the story of outcasts fleeing for their lives to take over a robbers den.
February 28, 2011
Moral of the story don”t get old because old is no good.
February 28, 2011
cool story. We luv animals.
clyde & johann —
March 4, 2011
GOOD STORY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS WAS ONE OF MY LESSONS IN MY SCHOOL……..
Elite Dark Lord_Dragon Slayer_ PIE —
March 18, 2011
This is a great story alongside with Stone Soup. It teachers young uns that together you can outwit evil, even when no one sees any good in you. I hope it also teaches them to respect the elderly and not cast them out when they are no longer “productive.”
Like most fairytales, awful for youporn, impressionabile minds.
November 16, 2011
its ok i gues
December 13, 2011
i luuuuuuuuuvvvvv this story
chu chi —
December 13, 2011
this a good book !
December 14, 2011
i dont like this story its weird
March 11, 2012
Haa i am feeling sleepy & dozing too boooooooooooooooooooooring
This is a lovely story. But it is sad that the donkey ran away from home. I also feel bad for the dog the donkey found on the way Breman. But other than that, it is amusing how all the animals ran away from home. This is one of my favorite stories.
Princess Beatrice —
August 24, 2012
yessssssss very very nice story
September 28, 2012
January 23, 2013
I LOVE IT SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH
great wish all story were like it triffic yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh GREAT