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The Wonder Clock by  Howard Pyle
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HOW THREE WENT OUT INTO THE WIDE WORLD

[41] THERE was a woman who owned a fine grey goose. "To-morrow," said she, "I will pluck the goose for live feathers, so that I may take them to market and sell them for good hard money."

This the goose heard, and liked it not. "Why should I grow live feathers for other folks to pluck?" said she to herself. So off she went into the wide world with nothing upon her back but what belonged to her.

By and by she came up with a sausage.

"Whither away, friend?" said the Grey Goose.

"Out into the wide world," said the Sausage.

"Why do you travel that road?" said the Grey Goose.

"Why should I stay at home?" said the Sausage. "They stuff me with good meat and barley-meal over yonder, but they only do it for other folk's feasting. That is the way with the world."

"Yes, that is true," said the Grey Goose; "and I too am going out into the world, for why should I grow live feathers for other folk's plucking? So let us travel together, as we are both of a mind."

Well, that suited the Sausage well enough, so off they went, arm in arm.

By and by they came up with a cock.

"Whither away, friend?" said the Grey Goose and the Sausage.

[42] "Out into the wide world," said the Cock.

"Why do you travel that road?" said the Grey Goose and the Sausage.

"Why should I stay at home?" said the Cock. "Every day they feed me with barley-corn, but it is only that I may split my throat in the mornings, calling the lads to the fields and the maids to the milking. That is the way with the world."


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"Yes, that is true," said the Grey Goose; "why should I grow live feathers for other folk's picking?"

And—

"Yes, that is true," said the Sausage; "why should I be stuffed with meat and barley-meal for other folk's feasting?"

So the three being all of a mind, they settled to travel the same road together.

Well, they went on and on and on, until, at last, they came to a deep forest, and, by and by, whom should they meet but a great red fox.


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"Whither away, friends?" said he.

Oh, we are going out into the wide world," said the Grey Goose, the Sausage and the Cock.


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"And why do you travel that road?" said the Fox.

Oh, there was nothing but tangled yarn at home: the Grey Goose grew live feathers for other folk's picking, the Sausage was stuffed for other folk's feasting, and the Cock crowed in the morn for other folk's waking. That was the way of the world over yonder, and so they had left it.

"Yes," said the Fox, "that is true; so come with me into the deep forest, for there every one can live for himself! and nobody else.

So they all went into the forest together, for the Fox's words pleased them very much.

"And now," said the Fox to the Grey Goose, "you shall be my wife," for he had never had a sweetheart before, and even a Grey Goose is better than none.

"And what is to become of us?" said the Sausage and the Cock.

"You and I shall be dear friends," said the Great Red Fox. Thereat the Cock and the Sausage were content, for it took but little to satisfy them.

Well, everything was just as the Great Red Fox had said it should be: The Goose kept her own feathers, the Sausage was stuffed for its own good, the Cock crowed for its own ears, and everything was as smooth as rich cream. Moreover, the Great Red Fox and the Grey Goose were husband [44] and wife, and the Great Red Fox and the Sausage and the Cock were dear friends.

One morning says the Great Red Fox to the Grey Goose, "Neighbor Cock makes a mighty hubbub with his crowing!"

"Yes, that is so," said the Grey Goose; for she always sang the same tune as the Great Red Fox, as a good wife should.

"Then," said the Great Red Fox, "I will go over and have a talk with him."

So off he packed, and by and by he came to Neighbor Cock's house. Rap! tap! tap! he knocked at the door, and who should look out of the window but the Cock himself.

"See, Neighbor Cock," said the Great Red Fox, "you make a mighty hubbub with that crowing of yours."

"That may be so, and that may not be so," said the Cock; "all the same, the hubbub is in my own house."

"That is good," said the Great Red Fox, "but one should not trouble one's neighbors, even in one's own house; so, if it suits you, we will have no more crowing."

"I was made for crowing, and crow I must," said the Cock.

"You must crow no more," said the Great Red Fox.

"I must crow," said the Cock. And that was the last of it for—snip!—off went its head, and it crowed no more. Nevertheless, he had the last word, and that was some comfort. After that the Great Red Fox ate up the Cock, body and bones, and then he went home again.


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"Will Neighbor Cock crow again?" said the Grey Goose.

"No; he will crow no more," said the Fox; and that was true.

By and by came hungry times, with little or nothing in the house to eat. "Look!" said the Great Red Fox, "yonder is Neighbor Sausage, and he has plenty."

"Yes, that is true," said the Grey Goose.

"And one's friend should help one when one is in need," said the Great Red Fox.

"Yes, that is true," said the Grey Goose.

So off went the Great Red Fox to Neighbor Sausage's house. Rap! tap! tap! he knocked at the door, and it was the Sausage himself who came.

"See," said the Fox, "there are hungry times over at our house."

[46] "I am sorry for that," said the Sausage; "but hungry times will come to the best of us."

"That is so," said the Great Red Fox, "but, all the same, you must help me through this crack. One would be in a bad pass without a friend to turn to."

"But see," said the Sausage, "all that I have is mine, and it is inside of me at that."

"Nevertheless, I must have some of it," said the Great Red Fox.

"But you can't have it," said the Sausage.

"But I must have it," said the Great Red Fox.

"But you can't have it," said the Sausage.

And so they talked and talked and talked, but the end came at last, for one cannot talk forever to an empty stomach. Snip! snap! and the Sausage was down the Great Red Fox's throat, and there was an end of it. And now the Fox had all that his friend had to give him, and so he went back home again.

[47] "Did Neighbor Sausage give you anything?" said the Grey Goose.

"Oh, yes; he gave me all that he had with him," said the Great Red Fox; and that also was very true.

After that the world went around for a while as easily as a greased wheel. But one day the Great Red Fox said to the Grey Goose: "See now, my bones grow sore by lying on the hard stones."

"That is a great pity," said the Grey Goose; "and if the hard stones were only soft, I, for one, would be glad."

"Yes," said the Great Red Fox, "that is good; but soft talking makes them none the easier to lie upon. Could you not spare me a few of your feathers?"

"A few feathers indeed!" said the Grey Goose, "it was not for this that I left the ways of the world over yonder. If you must have feathers you must pluck them from your own back."

"Prut!" said the Great Red Fox, "how you speak! A wife should do all that she can to make the world soft for her husband."

[48] Then you should have heard the Grey Goose talk and talk. But it was no use; when times are hard with one, one's wife should help to feather the nest—that was what the Great Red Fox said.

Snip! snap! crunch! cranch! and off went the Grey Goose's head. After that the Fox ate her up, body and bones, and there was an end of her. Then he lay upon soft feathers and slept easily.

Now this is true that I tell you: when a great red fox and a grey goose marry, and hard times come, one must make it soft for the other—mostly it is the grey goose who does that.

Also I would have you listen to this: some folks say that it is not so, but I tell you that the ways of the world are the ways of the world, even in the deep forest.


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