Grimm's Household Tales with the
translated by Margaret Hunt
Dog and the Sparrow
A SHEEP-DOG had not a good master,
but, on the contrary, one who let him suffer hunger. As he could stay
no longer with him, he went quite sadly away. On the road he met a sparrow
who said, "Brother dog, why art thou so sad?" The dog replied,
"I am hungry, and have nothing to eat." Then said the sparrow,
"Dear brother, come into the town with me, and I will satisfy thy
hunger." So they went into the town together, and when they came
in front of a butcher's shop the sparrow said to the dog, "Stay there,
and I will pick a bit of meat down for thee," and he alighted on
the stall, looked about him to see that no one was observing him, and
pecked and pulled and tore so long at a piece which lay on the edge, that
it slipped down. Then the dog seized it, ran into a corner, and devoured
it. The sparrow said, "Now come with me to another shop, and then
I will get thee one more piece that thou mayst be satisfied." When
the dog had devoured the second piece as well, the sparrow asked, "Brother
dog, hast thou now had enough?" "Yes, I have had meat enough,"
he answered, "but I have had no bread yet." Said the sparrow,
"Thou shalt have that also, come with me." Then he took him
to a baker's shop, and pecked at a couple of little buns till they rolled
down, and as the dog wanted still more, he led him to another stall, and
again got bread for him. When that was consumed, the sparrow said, "Brother
dog, hast thou now had enough?" "Yes," he replied, "now
we will walk awhile outside the town." Then they both went out on
to the highway. It was, however, warm weather, and when they had walked
a little way the dog said, "I am tired, and would like to sleep."
"Well, do sleep," answered the sparrow, "and in the meantime
I will seat myself on a branch." So the dog lay down on the road,
and fell fast asleep. Whilst he lay sleeping there, a waggoner came driving
by, who had a cart with three horses, laden with two barrels of wine.
The sparrow, however, saw that he was not going to turn aside, but was
staying in the wheel track in which the dog was lying, so it cried, "Waggoner,
don't do it, or I will make thee poor." The waggoner, however, growled
to himself, "Thou wilt not make me poor," and cracked his whip
and drove the cart over the dog, and the wheels killed him. Then the sparrow
cried, "Thou hast run over my brother dog and killed him, it shall
cost thee thy cart and horses." "Cart and horses indeed!"
said the waggoner. "What harm canst thou do me?" and drove onwards.
Then the sparrow crept under the cover of the cart, and pecked so long
at the same bung-hole that he got the bung out, and then all the wine
ran out without the driver noticing it. But once when he was looking behind
him he saw that the cart was dripping, and looked at the barrels and saw
that one of them was empty. "Unfortunate fellow that I am,"
cried he. "Not unfortunate enough yet," said the sparrow, and
flew on to the head of one of the horses and pecked his eyes out. When
the driver saw that, he drew out his axe and wanted to hit the sparrow,
but the sparrow flew into the air, and he hit his horse on the head, and
it fell down dead. "Oh, what an unfortunate man I am," cried
he. "Not unfortunate enough yet," said the sparrow, and when
the driver drove on with the two hoses, the sparrow again crept under
the cover, and pecked the bung out of the second cask, so all the wine
was spilt. When the driver became aware of it, he again cried, "Oh,
what an unfortunate man I am," but the sparrow replied, "Not
unfortunate enough yet," and seated himself on the head of the second
horse, and pecked his eyes out. The driver ran up to it and raised his
axe to strike, but the sparrow flew into the air and the blow struck the
horse, which fell. "Oh, what an unfortunate man I am." "Not
unfortunate enough yet," said the sparrow, and lighted on the third
horse's head, and pecked out his eyes. The driver, in his rage, struck
at the sparrow without looking round, and did not hit him but killed his
third horse likewise. "Oh, what an unfortunate man I am," cried
he. "Not unfortunate enough yet," answered the sparrow. "Now
will I make thee unfortunate in thy home," and flew away.
The driver had to leave the waggon standing, and full of anger and vexation went home. "Ah," said he to his wife, "what misfortunes I have had! My wine has run out, and the horses are all three dead!" "Alas, husband," she answered, "what a malicious bird has come into the house! It has gathered together every bird there is in the world, and they have fallen on our corn up there, and are devouring it." Then he went upstairs, and thousands and thousands of birds were sitting in the loft and had eaten up all the corn, and the sparrow was sitting in the midst of them. Then the driver cried, "Oh, what an unfortunate man I am?"
"Not unfortunate enough yet!" answered the sparrow; "waggoner, it shall cost thee thy life as well," and flew out.
Then the waggoner had lost all his property, and he went
downstairs into the room, sat down behind the stove and was quite furious
and bitter. But the sparrow sat outside in front of the window, and cried,
"Waggoner, it shall cost thee thy life." Then the waggoner snatched
the axe and threw it at the sparrow, but it only broke the window, and
did not hit the bird. The sparrow now hopped in, placed itself on the
stove and cried, "Waggoner, it shall cost thee thy life." The
latter, quite mad and blind with rage, smote the stove in twain, and as
the sparrow flew from one place to another so it fared with all his household
furniture, looking-glass, benches, table, and at last the walls of his
house, and yet he could not hit the bird. At length, however, he caught
it with his hand. Then his wife said, "Shall I kill it?" "No,"
cried he, "that would be too merciful. It shall die much more cruelly,"
and he took it and swallowed it whole. The sparrow, however, began to
flutter about in his body, and fluttered up again into the man's mouth;
then it stretched out its head, and cried, "Waggoner, it shall still
cost thee thy life." The driver gave the axe to his wife, and said,
"Wife, kill the bird in my mouth for me." The woman struck,
but missed her blow, and hit the waggoner right on his head, so that he
fell dead. But the sparrow flew up and away.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Tales. Margaret Hunt, translator. London: George Bell, 1884, 1892. 2 volumes.
From three slightly differing stories, the most perfect of which is from Zwehrn, and forms the groundwork of this. The second, like wise from Hesse, has a different beginning. A hind had given birth to a young deer, and asked the fox to stand godfather. The fox invited the sparrow as well, and the latter wished to invite the house-dog, who was his especially dear friend. The dog however had been tied up with a rope by his master, because once after a wedding he had come back to the house drunk. So now the sparrow pecked out one thread of the rope after another, until the dog was released; but at the christening-feast be again forgot himself; was overcome by wine, reeled home, and remained lying in the street. And now came the waggoner, who scoffed at the sparrow's warning, drove over the dog, and killed him. The third story, which is from Gottingen, has no introduction at all. It only says that a bird and a dog go out together, and on the great high way come to a deep rut which the dog cannot get over as the bird does, and, as just then a waggoner with some casks of wine comes driving up, the bird entreats him to help the dog over; he, however, does not trouble himself about it, but drives over the poor beast and kills him. Then the bird avenges him. The end of our story is taken from the second Hessian one. An ancient German poem which is allied to this story is given in Reinhart Fuchs, p. 290, but is derived from the French Renart--compare cxciii. An Esthonian animal story which is also given in Reinhart Fuchs, cclxxxiv., is related to our story.