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91 The Bear, the Dog, and the Cat 59. A peasant lived by himself, and he had a good dog that had grown so old that it ceased to bark and guard the yard and barns. The peasant no longer wanted to feed it with bread, so he chased it away from the yard. The dog went off into the forest and lay down beneath a tree to expire. Suddenly a bear came along and asked, “What is this, hound, why have you lain down here?” “I came here to die from hunger! You see, this is the truth among people: While you’ve strength, they feed you and give you something to drink, but when your strength fails in old age, they chase you out of the yard.” “Well then, dog, do you feel like eating?” “And how I feel like it!” “Well then, come with me. I’ll feed you.” So they set off. Along the way, they encountered this stallion.“Watch me!” the bear said to the dog, and began pawing at the earth. “Dog, oh dog!” “What is it?” “Look! Are my eyes red?” “They’re red, bear.” The bear began pawing at the earth even more furiously. “Dog, oh dog! Is my hair standing on end?” “Yes, it’s standing on end, bear!” “Dog, oh dog! Well now, is my tail raised?” “It’s raised!” So the bear grabbed the horse by the stomach, and the stallion fell to earth. The bear tore it up and said,“Now then, dog, eat as much as you like. And when you’ve cleaned that up, come to me.” So the dog went on living, worrying about nothing, and when it had eaten everything up and was hungry again, it ran to the bear. “Well, Brother, did you eat it all?” “I ate it all, but now once again I’m having to starve.” “Why starve? Do you know where those women are cutting grain?” “Yes, I know where.” 92 h The Bear, the Dog, and the Cat “Well, let’s go. I’ll sneak up to your mistress and grab her baby out of the cradle. You chase after me and take it back. When you’ve taken it away from me and taken it back to her, she’ll start feeding you as before.” So just fine, the bear ran up, crept up to the cradle, and carried off the child right out of its cradle. The baby started shouting, and the women all rushed after the bear. They nearly caught up to it, but not quite, so they turned back. The mother was crying, the other women grieving. Out of nowhere the hound appeared and caught up to the bear, took away the child and carried it back.“Just look,” said the women,“Your old hound took the baby back!” They ran to meet it. The mother was so, so very happy.“Now,” she said,“I’ll not abandon that hound for anything.” She brought it home, poured out some milk, took a little bread, and gave it to the old dog.“Here, eat!”And she said to her husband,“No, dear husband , we have to keep and feed our hound dog. It got my baby away from a bear. And you said it had no more strength left!” The dog soon filled out, it put on weight.“God grant health to that bear,” it said.“It didn’t let me starve.” And the bear became the hound’s best friend. Once the peasant had an evening party. The bear came to the dog as its guest.“Greetings, hound! Well, how are you getting on; are you getting enough bread to eat?”“Thanks be to God!”answered the dog.“It’s not just living, it’s a feast! What can I treat you to? Come into the hut. The masters are carousing and won’t notice if you pass by. Just go into the hut and quickly beneath the stove. Whatever I can get, I’ll treat you to.” All right, so they crept into the hut. The hound saw that the guests and the masters were thoroughly drunk, so it started treating its friend. The bear drank a glass, a second, and then it caught up with it. The guests were going on singing their songs, and the bear decided he would sing too. He started singing his own. The hound tried to dissuade it:“Don’t sing, or it will be too bad...


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