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How the Dog, Cat and Mouse Became Enemies - Everybody knows that the dog and cat, the cat and the mouse are not friends. Yet there was a time when these three animals got along very well together. Here is the story of how they became enemies.

Once there was a mighty king who ruled over a large-and rich country. The fields were green, the cattle fat and the people happy. Near the capital, where the king lived, was a large forest. Often the king and his ministers went to the forest to hunt. They never returned home without some animal which they had caught.

One day the king went to the forest with his friends and nobles. When they entered the forest they saw a strange sight. Dead deer, and wild goats and pigs were lying all over the ground. All the dead animals were half-eaten. It looked as if a greedy giant had taken a bite here and there.

The king flew into a temper. How could this happen in his kingdom! He ordered his nobles to find out who had killed the animals. But though his nobles searched everywhere, they could not find the culprit. After many hours of searching, they decided to return home. But one of the nobles stayed behind. He hid himself in the midst of some thick bushes.

Not long after the sun had set, he heard the whirling of mighty wings above the branches of the trees. To his surprise, many animals ran in fright out of the bushes. A moment later, a giant eagle dived down upon them. With his sharp claws and hard beak the huge bird attacked the frightened animals. Soon they all lay dead on the ground. The bird then began to eat them. He ate only the most tender parts of the bodies. When he had eaten enough, he spread his great wings and flew up into the sky.

The nobleman told the king all that he had seen. Immedi­ately the king sent soldiers to guard the forest, so that the eagle could not hunt there anymore. So the eagle began to at­tack cattle in the village.

Every night the villagers found some of their buffaloes, goats or horses killed. Many of the villagers became poor. With­out their buffaloes they could not plow their fields, and they could not grow enough rice. They decided to ask the king to help them. The king offered a big reward to anyone who could kill the bird. A few noblemen tried but none of them was clever enough. The great bird swooped down on them so fast they did not have time to strike with their swords. They were torn to pieces by its sharp claws and hard beak. Soon nobody wanted to fight the bird.

The king did not know what to do. He offered a larger re­ward but no one wished to lose his life for gold.

oOo

One day, the king was in his stable. He was looking at his horses when a messenger came to say that the eagle had killed five buffaloes in a village not far away.

"Oh!" exclaimed the king. "Isn't there anybody in my king­dom who can kill this monster? I promise that whoever kills this cruel bird will be richly rewarded. I will look upon him as my own brother and he will live in the palace, eat at my table and rule the country with me!"

It happened that three animals heard what the king said. They were a hunting dog, a stable cat and a field mouse, who were all good friends. At that time, the dog and cat were not thought of as house animals. They were not allowed to enter house and no one gave them food.

When the three friends heard the king's words, they looked at each other and the dog said, "I wish I could kill the eagle. If only he could not fly, I would be able to kill him quite easily." He bared his strong sharp teeth.

"I could scratch his eyes and blind him," hissed the cat. "Then he would not be able to hunt animals and he would die of hunger. It's true what Dog said, if be could not fly I too could make hire It would be wonderful to live in the palace," she said arching her back.

"Perhaps I can help the two of you," squeaked the mouse. "I can think of a way to stop him flying." He swished his long tail.

"You!" exclaimed Dog and Cat. "How can a tiny animal like you stop the eagle from flying?"

"I think I can," insisted the mouse. "Listen, why don't we work together? I'll make sure that the eagle cannot fly; Cat will scratch him blind and Dog will kill him. Then we'll go together to the king and share the reward."

Cat and Dog agreed -with this plan and the three of there went to the king to ask his permissionto kill the eagle together. When he had agreed, the three animals left the palace and went to the forest to look for the eagle.

"I know where the eagle sleeps," said the mouse. "He al­ways rests in a big tree in the forest. When lie's asleep, I’ll bite off the feathers of his wings. Without wings he will not be able-to fly."

So Mouse led Dog and Cat to a lonely partof the forest where there was a very tall tree. Around the tree there was a clearing covered with grass. The, three friends waited in the bushes for the eagle. Soon they heard the flapping of strong wingsand then they saw the eagle fly on to a branch of the tree. He had just finished a large meal of goat's meat and he was sleepy. He closed his eyes and was soon fast asleep.

When he saw that the big bird was asleep, the mouse crept up the trunk of the tree. He crept nearer and nearer until he was between the claws of the eagle, Mouse trembled with fright when he saw the long pointed claws. But he overcame his fear and crept up the feet of the eagle which were thicky covered with down. He moved forward, inch by inch, until he was under one of the eagle's wide wings. With his sharp teeth Mouse went to work. Quietly he bit off all the eaglet feathers. As soon as he had finished with one wing, he crept over to the other and did the same. When he had bitten through all the feathers, Mouse went down the tree. He told his friends what he had done.

oOo

Cat and Dog began to mew and bark under the tree, and called out to the eagle to fight. The bird opened his eyes and angrily looked down at them.

"Who is that?" he asked. "I'll show you who is master of the forest. When he saw Dog and Cat running round and round the tree, he opened his wings and tried to fly. Instead, a cloud of feathers whirled from his wings and floated down to the ground. The eagle was unable to fly and fell to the ground.

He tried to hop away but Cat jumped at his head. Her sharp claws pierced the bird's eyes. At thesame time Dog jumped on his back andbit into the eagle's flesh. The eagle beat his useless wings. He tried in vain to use his claws and he also tried to use his beak to peck at Dog and Cat. He rolled

over and over on the ground but he could not shake off Dog who finally pierced the eagle's throat. The once so powerful bird fell motionless on the ground. He was dead!

The three animals returned proudly to the palace. They were tired and dirty but they felt very happy. Mouse, Cat and Dog had proved they could kill the eagle.

The king kept his word. The three friends were allowed to live in the palace and eat the same food as the king. All the ministers treated them with great respect. Everybody in the country said how clever and brave they were.

All this praise and honour changed the three friends. They became boastful. Each one said he was the greatest hero of all.

"I did the most dangerous work," squeaked Mouse shrilly. "I bit off the eagle's wings. There was nothing else for Dog to do but bite his throat. And Cat? What did she do? Oh, she just made a lot of noise."

"How dare you say such a thing!" hissed Cat furiously. "I clawed his eyes. Only then could Dog kill him. I did the most dangerous work!"

"No, that's not true!'? barked Dog angrily. "It was I who killed him. I alone!I bit through his throat with my strong teeth! I am the greatest hero! "

And so they started quarrelling. Soon Cat chased Mouse out of the palace, and Dog fought with Cat whenever they met.

Thus ended the friendship between Dog, Cat and Mouse. Since then the three have been enemies, but all three still like to live in the houses of men.

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