Once upon a time, there was a donkey that, because he was old and had a broken back, was mistreated by his owner. Tired of so much cruelty, he decided to flee to a town called Bremen. With his fine and elegant braying, he would surely become the village musician.
While going down the road, the donkey came across a skinny dog covered in sores.
“Come with me if you have a good bark,” said the donkey. I am heading to Bremen to become a musician. You will also find a job. Just wait and see!
The dog left happily with the donkey. A little later, a stray cat who could no longer catch mice joined them in the hope that his meows would make him a musician in Bremen and thus earn his keep.
As they passed a farmyard, the three of them stopped to admire an old rooster that, with outstretched wings, crowed with all its might.
“You sing very well,” said the donkey. Why are you so happy?
-Happy? murmured the rooster with tears in his eyes. Since I am old, my owner wants to put me in the pot and make soup with me. Today I’m singing as loud as I can, because tomorrow I’m leaving.
Then the donkey said:
– Run away with us. With a cluck like yours, you’ll be famous in Bremen!
The rooster gladly accepted and now there were four of them. The road was long and night was falling. After a couple of hours, they found themselves in a thick forest not knowing if they should continue or hide in some cave to rest.
Suddenly, they came across a cabin. The donkey put his front hooves on the window. Eager to see, the dog jumped on the donkey’s back, the cat climbed on top of the dog, and the rooster flew up and sat on the cat’s head to observe what was going on inside.
It turns out that the cabin was the hideout of some bandits who were busy celebrating their latest robbery. The donkey and his friends were excited when through the window, they saw a table full of food. Just then, the donkey’s back gave way under the weight of his three friends and they all fell except the rooster.
The rooster flew out the window, its wings blowing out the only burning candle. The room was filled with darkness and noise: the braying of the donkey in pain, the barking of the dog and the mewing of the cat. The rooster crowed along with the others. The bandits taken by surprise fled into the forest shouting:
-Help! Help! This place is inhabited by ghosts.
The food left on the table ended up in the stomachs of the four friends.
Later, when the donkey and his companions were falling asleep, one of the bandits sneaked back into the hut to find out what had happened. Still scared, he opened the door and headed for the kitchen.
The kitchen was in darkness, the bandit with the extinguished candle in his hand, mistook the brightness of the cat’s eyes for burning coals. When he tried to light the candle, the cat scratched his face. The man fell backwards onto the dog and the animal’s sharp teeth sank into his leg. The donkey saw the bandit’s figure in the darkness and instantly kicked it, sending it flying through the gate. The rooster, sitting on the roof, celebrated this feat with his cheerful quiquiriquí.
—Run! the man yelled at the other bandits. Run! A horrible witch scratched my face, a ghost bit my leg, a monster hit me with a stick, and on the roof lives a judge who said: “Bring that thief here for me.”
This is how the donkey, the dog, the cat and the rooster lived happily ever after in the cabin. With the loot left by the bandits, they had plenty of food on the table.