One day a donkey was walking along the fence by the barn, singing softly to himself. He stopped when he heard his owner talking with another farmer. The donkey leaned in closer so he could better hear what the two were discussing.
"I know what you mean," the one farmer said. "Sometimes it's easier to just get a younger one."
The donkey wondered what they could be talking about.
His owner continued, "I just can't find many reasons to keep the tired bag of bones around much longer. He is very old and cannot pull the plow anymore. It's time to put that old donkey out to pasture."
The donkey couldn't believe his ears! They were talking about him! He was very hurt to hear these words. "Hee-haw!" said the donkey. "I won't be sent out to pasture. I'll go to the town of Bremen and become a musician."
The donkey had just started on his way when he saw a sad dog sitting by the road. The donkey asked what was bothering the dog. "My owner says I am too old to hunt," howled the dog. "He wants to get a younger dog who keeps quiet."
"I have a thought that may interest you. Why don't you come with me to Bremen, and we will work as musicians," said the donkey. "We'll be quite a team."
"Woof!" said the dog. "I really like that idea!"
The two new pals had not gone far before they crossed paths with a gloomy cat. They asked what was wrong.
"My owner says I am too old to catch mice," he cried. "She is going to get a younger cat."
They invited the cat to come to Bremen to sing with them. "Mee-ow!" answered the cat, and the three were on their way.
The dog, cat, and donkey were walking along when suddenly a very upset rooster flew right into the middle of the road. "Cock-a-doodle-day!" the rooster squawked.
"What a strong voice you have!" the dog said.
"My owners say there is no point in having a strong voice if you don't use it every day," crowed the rooster. "I cannot get up early enough to wake up the workers anymore. My owners plan to serve me for Sunday dinner!"
"Join us on our trip," said the dog. "We are going to work as musicians. We could really use your strong voice to make our band complete."
"Cock-a-doodle-day!" said the rooster. "Let's be on our way!" The four new friends practiced singing as they walked toward Bremen.
Find out what the four musicians do next on the next page.
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