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The Proud Cock

There was once a cock who grew so dreadfully proud that he would have nothing to say to anybody. He left his house, it being far beneath his dignity to have any trammel of that sort in his life, and as for his former acquaintance, he cut them all.

There was once a cock who grew so dreadfully proud that he would have nothing to say to anybody. He left his house, it being far beneath his dignity to have any trammel of that sort in his life, and as for his former acquaintance, he cut them all.

One day, whilst walking about, he came to a few little sparks of fire which were nearly dead.

They cried out to him: "Please fan us with your wings, and we shall come to the full vigour of life again." But he did not deign to answer, and as he was going away one of the sparks said; "Ah well! we shall die, but our big brother, the Fire will pay you out for this one day." On another day he was airing himself in a meadow, showing himself off in a very superb set of clothes. A voice calling from somewhere said: "Please be so good as to drop us into the water again." He looked about and saw a few drops of water: they had got separated from their friends in the river, and were pining away with grief. "Oh! please be so good as to drop us into the water again," they said; but, without any answer, he drank up the drops. He was too proud and a great deal too big to talk to a poor little puddle of water; but the drops said: "Our big brother, the Water, will one day take you in hand, you proud and senseless creature." Some days afterwards, during a great storm of rain, thunder and lightning, the cock took shelter in a little empty cottage, and shut to the door; and he thought: "I am clever; I am in comfort. What fools people are to top out in a storm like this! What's that?" thought he. "I never heard a sound like that before." In a little while it grew much louder, and when a few minutes had passed, it was a perfect howl. "Oh!" thought he, "this will never do. I must stop it somehow.

But what is it I have to stop?" He soon found it was the wind, shouting through the keyhole, so he plugged up the keyhole with a bit of clay, and then the wind was able to rest. He was very tired with whistling so long through the keyhole, and he said: "Now, if ever I have at any time a chance of doing a good turn to that princely domestic fowl, I well do it." Weeks afterwards, the cock looked in at a house door: he seldom went there, because the miser to whom the house belonged almost starved himself, and so, of course, there was nothing over for anybody else.

To his amazement the cock saw the miser bending over a pot on the fire. At last the old fellow turned round to get a spoon with which to stir his pot, and then the cock, waking up, looked in and saw that the miser was making oyster-soup, for he had found some oyster-shells in an ash- pit, and to give the mixture a colour he had put in a few halfpence in the pot.

The miser chanced to turn quickly round, while the cock was peering into the saucepan, and, chuckling to himself, he said: "I shall have chicken broth after all." He tripped up the cock into the pot and shut the lid on. The bird, feeling warm, said: "Water, water, don't boil!" But the water only said: "You drank up my young brothers once: don't ask a favour of me." Then he called out to the Fire: "Oh! kind Fire, don't boil the water." But the fire replied: "You once let my young sisters die: you cannot expect any mercy from me." So he flared up and boiled the water all the faster.

At last, when the cock got unpleasantly warm, he thought of the wind, and called out: "Oh, Wind, come to my help!" and the Wind said: "Why, there is that noble domestic bird in trouble. I will help him." So he came down the chimney, blew out the fire, blew the lid off the pot, and blew the cock far away into the air, and at last settled him on a steeple, where the cock remained ever since. And people say that the halfpence which were in the pot when it was boiling have given him the queer brown colour he still wears.

Reference book: The Art Of The Story-Teller

Tags: Speech, public speaking, story telling, stories, ,

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