‘THE nuts are quite ripe now,’ said Chanticleer to his wife Partlet, ‘suppose we go together to the mountains, and eat as many as we can, before the squirrel takes them all away.’ ‘With all my heart,’ said Partlet, ‘let us go and make a holiday of it together.’ So they went to the mountains; and as it was a lovely day they stayed there till the evening. Now, whether it was that they had eaten so many nuts that they could not walk, or whether they were lazy and would not, I do not know : however, they took it into their heads that it did not become them to go home on foot. So Chanticleer began to build a little carriage of nut-shells: and when it was finished, Partlet jumped into it and sat down, and bid Chanticleer harness himself to it and draw her home. ‘That's a good joke!’ said Chanticleer; ‘no, that will never do; I had rather by half walk home; I'll sit on the box and be coachman, if you like, but I'll not draw.’While this was passing, a duck came quacking up, and cried out, ‘You thieving vagabonds, what business have you in my grounds; I'll give it you well for your insolence!’
and upon that she fell upon Chanticleer most lustily.
But Chanticleer was no coward, and returned the duck's blows with his sharp spurs so.
fiercely, that she soon began to cry out for mercy; which was only granted her upon condition that she would draw the carriage borne for them.
This she agreed to do; and Chanticleer got upon the box, and drove, crying, ‘Now, duck, get on as fast as you can.’
And away they went at a pretty good pace.
After they had travelled along a little way, they met a needle and a pin walking together along the road: and the needle cried out, ‘Stop! stop!’
and said it was so dark that they could hardly find their way, and such dirty walking they could not get on at all: he told them that he and his friend, the pin, had been at a public house a few miles off, and had sat drinking till they had forgotten how late it was; he begged therefore that the travellers would be so kind as to give them a lift in their carriage.
He now flew into a very great passion, and, suspecting the company who had come in the night before, he went to look after them, but they were all off; so he swore that he never again would take in such a troop of vagabonds, who ate a great deal, paid no reckoning, and gave him nothing for his trouble but their apish tricks.
How Chanticleer and Partlet went to visit Mr Korbes
Another day, Chanticleer and Partlet wished to ride out together; so Chanticleer built a handsome carriage with four red wheels, and harnessed six mice to it; and then be and Partlet got into the carriage, and away they drove.
Soon afterwards a cat met them, and said, ‘Where are you going?’
And Chanticleer replied,
‘All on our way
A visit to pay
To Mr Korbes, the fox, to-day.’
Then the cat said, ‘Take me with you.’
Then she was in a great fright, and cried out to Chanticleer, ‘Pray run as fast as you can, and fetch me some water, or I shall be choked.’
Chanticleer ran as fast as be could to the river, and said, ‘River, give me some water, for Partlet lies on the mountain, and will be choked by a great nut.’
The river said, ‘Run first to the bride, and ask her for a silken cord to draw up the water.’
Chanticleer ran to the bride, and said, ‘Bride, you must give me a silken cord, for then the river will give me water, and the water I will carry to Partlet, who lies on the mountain, and will be choked by a great nut.’
But the bride said, ‘Run first, and bring me my garland that is banging on a willow in the garden.’
Then Chanticleer ran to the garden, and took the garland from the bough where it hung, and brought it to the bride; and then the bride gave him the silken cord, and be took the silken cord to the river, and the river gave him water, and he carried the water to Partlet; but in the mean time she was choked by the great nut, and lay quite dead, and never moved any more.
Then Chanticleer was very sorry, and cried bitterly; and all the beasts came and wept with him over poor Partlet.
And six mice built a little hearse to carry her to her grave; ‘and when it was ready they harnessed themselves before it, and Chanticleer drove them.
On the way they met the fox.
‘Where are you going, Chanticleer?’
‘To bury my Partlet,’ said the other, ‘May I go with you?’
said the fox.
‘Yes; but you must get up behind, or my horses will not be able to draw you.’
Then the fox got up behind; and presently the wolf, the bear, the goat, and all the beasts of the wood, came and climbed upon the hearse.
So on they went till they came to a rapid stream.
‘How shall we get over?’
Then said a straw, ‘I will lay myself across, and you may pass over upon me.’
But as the mice were going over, the straw slipped away and fell into the water, and.
the six mice all fell in and were drowned.
What was to be done?
Then a large log of wood came and said, ‘I am big enough; I will lay myself across the stream, and you shall pass over upon me.’
So he laid himself down; but they managed so clumsily, that the log of wood fell in and was carried away by the stream.
Then a stone, who saw what had happened, came up and kindly offered to help poor Chanticleer by laying himself across the stream; and this time he got safely to the other side with the hearse, and managed to get Partlet out of it; but the fox and the other mourners, who were sitting behind, were too heavy, and fell back into the water and were all carried away by the stream, and drowned.
Thus Chanticleer was left alone with his dead Partlet; and having dug a grave for her, he laid her in it, and made a little hillock over her.
Then he sat down by the grave, and wept and mourned, till at last he died too: and so all were dead.