Written by Adapted by Philadelphia Reads
Illustrated by Sam Schechter
Once there was a donkey who was too old to work and feared his master would no longer feed him. He decided to run away and become a musician in Bremen.
On the road to Bremen he came across a dog.
“I, too, have run away from home,” said the dog. “I’m too old and weak to hunt, and my master has threatened to put me down.”
“Join me,” said the donkey, “and we will both become town-musicians.”
“Wonderful!” cried the dog.
Further along, they met a cat.
“My mistress has threatened to drown me because I’m too old to catch mice.”
“Come with us,” said the donkey. “We can always use a third voice in our group.”
“Thank you,” said the cat, and they set off down the road.
A short time later they came across a rooster crowing for all he was worth.
“Guests are coming over,” he explained, “and my mistress will cook me for dinner.”
“Your voice is too fine to waste on a meal,” declared the donkey. “Come with us to Bremen.”
“I’ve always dreamed of singing for an audience,” said the rooster, and so it was agreed.
It got late and the rooster spied a light in the woods. Following the light, they discovered a house where men were feasting. The animals decided to sing for their supper, but they didn’t know that the men were robbers and this was their hide-out.
The rooster stood on the cat, who stood on the dog, who stood on the donkey’s back. Then they sang with all their might. The robbers fled into the woods, terrified by the noise and the strange creature they saw.
Surprised but pleased, the animals ate the abandoned feast and settled down to sleep.
Meanwhile, the ashamed robbers regrouped.
“We shouldn’t have run away,” declared the leader, so he sent one man back to learn what kind of monster had chased them away.
The robber snuck in through the window. Thinking the cat’s eyes were coals, he tried to light a match by poking her face.
Surprised, the cat flew at him, hissing and scratching. The robber ran for the door, but tripped over the dog, who sank his teeth deep into the robber’s leg. Howling with pain, the robber ran out into the yard where he crashed into the donkey, who gave him a swift kick in the stomach.
“Cock-a-doodle-doo!” cried the rooster from the top of the house, as the robber ran away screaming. “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”
“What happened?” asked the other robbers.
“It was awful!” wailed the robber. “A witch with glowing eyes attacked me, scratching and spitting curses at me. A man with a knife was by the door and stabbed me in the leg. Outside a giant with a club hit me in the stomach, and all the while a judge was screaming from above, “The law Is going to get you!”
The robbers were cowards at heart and after hearing this story, none would agree to go back to the house.
The animals, for their part, found themselves quite comfortable in the robber’s hideout and decided to make it their home. There they lived happily ever after.