The Boy and the Violin
Once upon a time there was a man who had an only son. When the man died the son was left all alone in the world. There was not very much property—just a cat and a dog, a small piece of land, and a few orange trees. The boy gave the dog away to a neighbour and sold the land and the orange trees. Every bit of money he obtained from the sale he invested in a violin. He had longed for a violin all his life and now he wanted one more than ever. While his father had lived he could tell his thoughts to his father, but now there was none to tell them to except the violin. What his violin said back to him made the very sweetest music in the world.
The boy went to hire out as shepherd to care for the sheep of the king, but he was told that the king already had plenty of shepherds and had no need of another. The boy took his violin which he had brought with him and hid himself in the deep forest. There he made sweet music with the violin. The shepherds who were near by guarding the king’s sheep heard the sweet strains, but they could not find out who was playing. The sheep, too, heard the music. Several of them left the flock and followed the sound of the music into the forest. They followed it until they reached the boy and the cat and the violin.
The shepherds were greatly disturbed when they found out how their sheep were straying away into the forest. They went after them to bring them back, but they could find no trace of them. Sometimes it would seem that they were quite near to the place from which the music came, but when they hurried in that direction they would hear the strains of music coming from a distant point in the opposite direction. They were afraid of getting lost themselves so they gave up in despair.
When the boy saw how the sheep came to hear his music he was very happy. His music was no longer the sad sweet sound it had been when he was lonely. It became gayer and gayer. After a while it became so gay that the cat began to dance. When the sheep saw the cat dancing they began to dance, too.