A CERTAIN little bird went to a tailor and ordered him to make it a little woollen coat. The tailor took his measure, and agreed to have it ready for him in three days. Then he went to a hatter and ordered a little hat, and the hatter promised as the tailor had done; finally, the little bird went to a shoemaker, and the shoemaker took his measure, and like the others told him they should be ready on the third day. When the appointed time arrived, the bird went to the tailor, who had the little woollen coat ready, and said to him:—
“Put it upon my little bill, and I will pay you.”
And the tailor did so, but instead of paying him, the little rogue flew away. And the same trick was played with the hatter, and with the shoemaker.
Then the little bird dressed itself in the new things and went to the king’s garden, and placed itself upon a tree before the banqueting room. Whilst the king was dining, it sang:—
“In my little woollen coat I am as fine
As the king in his mantle of scarlet.”
And it sang and re-sang its song so many times, that his Majesty got angry and ordered, it to be caught and cooked, and brought before him. This was done; and after it had been plucked of its feathers and cooked, it was so small that the king swallowed it whole, in a single mouthful.
When the little bird found itself in the king’s inside, which seemed to it to be a cavern darker than midnight, it began to kick about right and left with all its might. Then the king began to complain, and to say that his food had not agreed with him, but had made him ill. The doctors came and ordered the king to take a draught, and this made the little bird so uncomfortable that he flew out of the king’s mouth like a flash of lightning.
In the first place, the bird now dived into a fountain; and then it went to a carpenter’s shop and rubbed itself all over with glue. Afterwards, it went to the other birds, and told them what had happened to it, and begged each of them to give it a feather; and each of them did so, and as it was covered with glue, the feathers all stuck to it; and each feather being of a different colour, the little bird at last became more beautiful than it had been before, with plumage as many-coloured as the rainbow. Then it went and fluttered about the tree that was before the king’s balcony, singing lustily:—
“To whom has happened what has chanced to me?
Into the king to enter, and from the king come free.”
The king said:—
“Catch that little rascal of a bird!”
But the little bird was now forewarned, so it flew like the wind, and did not stop until it perched upon the nose of the man in the moon!