Jack and his comrades
"More power to you, Jack," says the dog.
"I'm much obleeged to you: where is the baste and yourself going?"
"We're going to seek our fortune till harvest comes in."
"And wouldn't I be proud to go with you!" says the dog, "and get rid of them ill conducted boys; purshuin' to 'em."
"Well, well, throw your tail over your arm, and come along."
They got outside the town, and sat down under an old wall, and Jack pulled out his bread and meat, and shared with the dog; and the ass made his dinner on a bunch of thistles. While they were eating and chatting, what should come by but a poor half-starved cat, and the moll-row he gave out of him would make your heart ache.
"You look as if you saw the tops of nine houses since breakfast," says
Jack; "here's a bone and something on it."
"May your child never know a hungry belly!" says Tom; "it's myself that's in need of your kindness. May I be so bold as to ask where yez are all going?"
"We're going to seek our fortune till the harvest comes in, and you may join us if you like."
"And that I'll do with a heart and a half," says the cat, "and thank'ee for asking me."'
Off they set again, and just as the shadows of the trees were three times as long as themselves, they heard a great cackling in a field inside the road, and out over the ditch jumped a fox with a fine black cock in his mouth.
"Oh, you anointed villain!" says the ass, roaring like thunder.
"At him, good dog!" says Jack, and the word wasn't out of his mouth when Coley was in full sweep after the Red Dog. Reynard dropped his prize like a hot potato, and was off like shot, and the poor cock came back fluttering and trembling to Jack and his comrades.
"O musha, naybours!" says he, "wasn't it the height o' luck that threw you in my way! Maybe I won't remember your kindness if ever I find you in hardship; and where in the world are you all going?"
"We're going to seek our fortune till the harvest comes in; you may join our party if you like, and sit on Neddy's crupper when your legs and wings are tired.