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The Brave Rooster

2006-07-13 23:31

  Once upon a time there lived in Vidzeme a poor man. He had nothing to his name, not even a roof of his own over his head, and lived in a little bath-house which he rented from a lord. And of course that, as everyone knows, is no sort of life! For whenever the lord wanted a bath, be it winter or summer, out the poor man had to go into the street!

  Now, the poor man had a rooster who did him for a son and a brother and a friend, too. To look at and talk to this rooster was his one pleasure in life.

  The lord pressed the poor hard, worked him half to death, cast his living in his bath-house in his teeth at every opportunity and finally drove him out of it together with his rooster. The poor man felt very sad, for there was no one to stand up for him even, and he burst into tears.

  The lord's cruel conduct made rooster very angry.

  “Do not be grieved,” said he to his master. “I'll go to the lord and speak to him myself!”

  And off he made for the lord's house.

  On the way he met a bear.

  “Hullo, rooster!” replied the bear. “Where are you going?”

  “To see the lord and give him a piece of my mind for having treated my master so badly.”

  “I'm coming with you!” said the bear.

  On they went together and they met a wolf.

  “Hullo, wolf!” said the rooster.

  “Hullo, rooster!” the wolf replied. “Where are you going?”

  “To see the lord and give him a piece of my mind for having treated my master so badly.”

  “I'm coming with you!” said the wolf.

  They went on together, and by and by a hawk came flying toward them.

  “Hullo, hawk!” said the rooster.

  “Hullo, rooster!” the hawk replied. “Where are you going?”

  “To see the lord and give him a piece of my mind for having treated my master so badly.”

  “I'm coming with you!” said the hawk.

  They came to the lord's house, and the bear, the wolf and the hawk hid behind some bushes while the rooster flew up on to the gate and sang out:

  “Cock-a-doodle-doo! Listen to me, lord, and beware! You drove my master out of the bath-house, and I'll drive you out of your house and off your land for having treated him so badly.”

  Now, the lord was sitting on the terrace having his coffee, and so angry did the rooster's song make him that he ordered his servants to catch the rooster and throw him in the goose-house for the geese to nip to death. The servants caught the rooster and threw him in the goose-house but the hawk flew in after him and killed all the geese.

  In the morning the rooster flew out of the goose-house and on to the gate and sang out again:

  “Cock-a-doodle-doo! Listen to me and beware, lord! You drove my master out of the bath-house and I'll drive you out of your house and off your land for having treated him so badly.”

  Now, the lord was sitting on the terrace just then waiting for his morning coffee. So enraged was he that he ordered the rooster to be thrown in the cow-house for the cows and the bulls to gore to death. The servants caught the rooster and threw him in the cow-house.

  Said the wolf at this:

  “Well, I suppose it's my turn now!” And in he slipped into the cow-house after the rooster.

  In the morning the farm hands came into the cow-house and what did they see but all the cows and bulls lying there dead, their throats slit by the wolf. And as for the rooster, he was alive and well, and, flying up on to the gate again, sang out:

  “Cock-a-doodle-doo! Listen to me and beware, lord! You drove my master out of the bath-house and I'll drive you out of your house and off your land for having treated him so badly.”

  The lord did not even touch his coffee, so angry was he, but ordered his servants to throve the rooster in a stable for the horses to trample to death. The servants caught the rooster and threw him in the stable where the most spirited of the horses were kept.

  Said the bear:

  “Well, I suppose it's my turn now.”

  And in he rushed into the stable after the rooster.

  In the morning the farm hands came into the stable, and what did they see but all the horses lying there dead, mauled to death by the bear.

  The rooster flew out of the stable and on to the gate and sang out as he had before:

  “Cock-a-doodle-doo! Listen to me and beware, lord! You drove my master out of the bath-house and I'll drive you out of your house and off your land for having treated him so badly!”

  The lord who was on the terrace could not keep his seat. Up he jumped and down he ran into the yard and he bade his servants catch the rooster and kill him. And the rooster began calling to the bear, the wolf and the hawk to make haste and come to his aid.

  They came running, and, oh, what a battle was fought in the yard! The rooster pecked, the bear mauled, the wolf tore and the hawk clawed. Away helter-skelter ran the lord's servants and so far did they go that they could not find their way back afterwards!

  The rooster flew at the lord and pinned him to the ground.

  “Choose!” cried he. “Either you die or agree to tend my pigs and look after my dogs.”

  Said the lord in reply:

  “I'd rather tend pigs than die any day!”

  At this the hawk flew to his nest, the wolf ran to the field to do whatever it was he had a mind to do, and the bear made off for the forest, and as for the rooster, he brought his master to the lord's house, and they settled down there together and lived happily ever after, and the lord tended their pigs for them and looked after their dogs.

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