A certain man had a donkey, which had carried the corn-sacks to the mill indefatigably for many a long year. But his strength was going, and he was growing more and more unfit for work. Then his master began to consider how he might best save his keep. But the donkey, seeing that no good wind was blowing, ran away and set out on the road to Bremen. There, he thought, I can surely be a town-musician. When he had walked some distance, he found a dog. The dog was lying on the road, gasping like one who had run till he was tired.
What are you gasping so for, you big fellow, asked the donkey. Ah, replied the dog, as I am old, and daily grow weaker, and no longer can hunt, my master wanted to kill me. So I took to flight, but now how am I to earn my bread? I tell you what, said the donkey, I am going to Bremen. I shall be town-musician there. Go with me and engage yourself also as a musician. I will play the lute. You shall beat the kettle-drum.