MADAM. Then speak! Speak now, sir!—at once, sir!
FOX. I speak. O sweet Miss Crow, how beautiful your wings are!
MADAM (pleased). Do you hear that, daughter?
[Miss Crow nods, spreading her wings proudly.]
FOX. I speak again. How bright your eye, dear maid! How graceful your neck!
MADAM. Bend your neck, child! Now bend it well that he may better see your grace.
[Miss Crow bends neck twice.]
FOX. But oh, that such a sweet bird should be dumb!—should be so utterly dumb!
[He weeps gently in his little pocket handkerchief.]
MADAM (indignantly). Do you think, sir, she cannot caw as well as the rest of us?
FOX. I must think so, dear madam. Alas!
[Weeping again in his little pocket handkerchief.]
MADAM. You shall think so, then, no longer! Caw, child, caw, as you have never cawed before!
MISS CROW (opening mouth; dropping cheese). Caw! Caw!
[Fox quickly snaps up the cheese.]
FOX (going). Thank you, Miss Crow.
Remember, dear madam, that whatever
I said of her beauty, I said nothing of her brains.
[He goes, waving the crows a farewell with his little pocket handkerchief.]
THE MILLER, HIS SON, AND THEIR DONKEY
TIME: this morning.
PLACE: a bridge, near a town and not far from a Fair.
* * * * *
THE MILLER AND HIS SON.
FIRST OLD MAN.
SECOND OLD MAN.
THIRD OLD MAN.
HIS FIRST CLERK.
HIS SECOND CLERK.
* * * * *
[The MILLER and his SON are driving their donkey across the bridge. They go to the Fair.]
SON. Do you expect to get a good price for our donkey, father?
MILLER (nodding). Aye, lad; the Fair is the place to take your wares.
SON. Our donkey is not so young, though.
MILLER. Neither is he so old, though.
SON. But he is not so fat, though.
MILLER. Neither is he so lean, though.
SON. Truly he might be worse.
MILLER. Better or worse, he must be sold.
[THREE MAIDS enter the bridge. They go to the Fair.]
FIRST MAID (pointing to the Miller and his Son). Look there! Did you ever see such geese?
SECOND MAID. As I live!—walking when they might ride!
THIRD MAID (to the Miller). You’ll get a laugh at the Fair, old man!
[The Maids pass on.]
MILLER. This may be true. Get you upon the beast, lad.
[The boy mounts the donkey. Enter THREE OLD MEN. They talk together earnestly. They go to the Fair.]