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Italian Popular Tales
by Thomas Crane

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The Cock

ONCE upon a time there was a cock, and this cock flew here and flew there, and flew on an arbor, and there he found a letter. He opened the letter and saw: "Cock, steward,"-and that he was invited to Rome by the Pope.

The cock started on his journey, and after a time met the hen: "Where are you going, Friend Cock?" said the hen. "I flew," said he, "upon an arbor and found a letter, and this letter said that I was invited to Rome by the Pope." "Just see, friend," said the hen, "whether I am there too." "Wait a bit." Then he turned the letter, and saw written there: "Cock, steward; Hen, stewardess." "Come, friend, for you are there too." "Very well!"

Then the two started off, and soon met the goose, who said: "Where are you going, Friend Cock and Friend Hen?" "I flew," said the cock, "upon an arbor, and I found a letter, and this letter said that we were invited to Rome by the Pope."" Just look, friend, whether I am there too." Then the cock opened the letter, read it, and saw that there was written: "Cock, steward; Hen, stewardess; Goose, abbess." "Come, come, friend; you are there too." So they took her along, and all three went their way.

[After a time they found the duck, and the cock saw written in the letter: "Cock, steward; Hen, stewardess; Goose, abbess; Duck, countess." They next met a little bird, and found he was down in the letter as "little manservant." Finally they came across the wood-louse, whom they found mentioned in the letter as "maid-servant." On their journey they came to a forest, and saw a wolf at a distance. The cock, hen, goose, and duck plucked out their feathers and built houses to shelter themselves from the wolf. The poor bug, that had no feathers, dug a hole in the ground and crept into it. The wolf came, and as in the last story, blew down the four houses and devoured their occupants. Then he tried to get at the bug in the same way; but blew so hard that he burst, and out came the cock, hen, goose, and duck, safe and sound, and began to make a great noise. The bug heard it and came out of her hole, and after they had rejoiced together, they separated and each returned home and thought no more of going to Rome to the Pope.]

Crane, Thomas Frederick. Italian Popular Tales. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1885.
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Italian Popular Tales by Thomas Crane

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