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Main > Celtic folktales > Fairy tale "Jack and his comrades"

Jack and his comrades

"

Well, the march began again, and just as the sun was gone down they looked around, and there was neither cabin nor farm house in sight.

"Well, well," says Jack, "the worse luck now the better another time, and it's only a summer night after all. We'll go into the wood, and make our bed on the long grass."

No sooner said than done. Jack stretched himself on a bunch of dry grass, the ass lay near him, the dog and cat lay in the ass's warm lap, and the cock went to roost in the next tree.

Well, the soundness of deep sleep was over them all, when the cock took a notion of crowing.

"Bother you, Black Cock!" says the ass: "you disturbed me from as nice a wisp of hay as ever I tasted. What's the matter?"

"It's daybreak that's the matter: don't you see light yonder?"

"I see a light indeed," says Jack, "but it's from a candle it's coming, and not from the sun. As you've roused us we may as well go over, and ask for lodging."

So they all shook themselves, and went on through grass, and rocks, and briars, till they got down into a hollow, and there was the light coming through the shadow, and along with it came singing, and laughing, and cursing.

"Easy, boys!" says Jack: "walk on your tippy toes till we see what sort of people we have to deal with."

So they crept near the window, and there they saw six robbers inside, with pistols, and blunderbushes, and cutlashes, sitting at a table, eating roast beef and pork, and drinking mulled beer, and wine, and whisky punch.

"Wasn't that a fine haul we made at the Lord of Dunlavin's!" says one ugly-looking thief with his mouth full, "and it's little we'd get only for the honest porter! here's his purty health!"

"The porter's purty health!" cried out every one of them, and Jack bent his finger at his comrades.

"Close your ranks, my men," says he in a whisper, "and let every one mind the word of command."

So the ass put his fore-hoofs on the sill of the window, the dog got on the ass's head, the cat on the dog's head, and the cock on the cat's head.

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