ENGLISH

Old Sultan

ESPAÑOL

El viejo Sultán


A farmer once had a faithful dog called Sultan, who had grown old, and lost all his teeth, so that he could no longer hold anything fast. One day the farmer was standing with his wife before the house-door, and said, "To-morrow I intend to shoot Old Sultan, he is no longer of any use."
His wife, who felt pity for the faithful beast, answered, "He has served us so long, and been so faithful, that we might well give him his keep."

"Eh! what?" said the man. "You are not very sharp. He has not a tooth left in his mouth, and not a thief is afraid of him; now he may be off. If he has served us, he has had good feeding for it."

The poor dog, who was lying stretched out in the sun not far off, had heard everything, and was sorry that the morrow was to be his last day. He had a good friend, the wolf, and he crept out in the evening into the forest to him, and complained of the fate that awaited him. "Hark ye, gossip," said the wolf, "be of good cheer, I will help you out of your trouble. I have thought of something. To-morrow, early in the morning, your master is going with his wife to make hay, and they will take their little child with them, for no one will be left behind in the house. They are wont, during work-time, to lay the child under the hedge in the shade; you lay yourself there too, just as if you wished to guard it. Then I will come out of the wood, and carry off the child. You must rush swiftly after me, as if you would seize it again from me. I will let it fall, and you will take it back to its parents, who will think that you have saved it, and will be far too grateful to do you any harm; on the contrary, you will be in high favor, and they will never let you want for anything again."

The plan pleased the dog, and it was carried out just as it was arranged. The father screamed when he saw the Wolf running across the field with his child, but when Old Sultan brought it back, then he was full of joy, and stroked him and said, "Not a hair of yours shall be hurt, you shall eat my bread free as long as you live." And to his wife he said, "Go home at once and make Old Sultan some bread-sop that he will not have to bite, and bring the pillow out of my bed, I will give him that to lie upon."

Henceforth Old Sultan was as well off as he could wish to be.

Soon afterwards the wolf visited him, and was pleased that everything had succeeded so well. "But, gossip," said he, "you will just wink an eye if when I have a chance, I carry off one of your master's fat sheep." - "Do not reckon upon that," answered the dog; "I will remain true to my master; I cannot agree to that." The wolf, who thought that this could not be spoken in earnest, came creeping about in the night and was going to take away the sheep. But the farmer, to whom the faithful Sultan had told the wolf's plan, caught him and dressed his hide soundly with the flail. The wolf had to pack off, but he cried out to the dog, "Wait a bit, you scoundrel, you shall pay for this."

The next morning the wolf sent the boar to challenge the dog to come out into the forest so that they might settle the affair. Old Sultan could find no one to stand by him but a cat with only three legs, and as they went out together the poor cat limped along, and at the same time stretched out her tail into the air with pain.

The wolf and his friend were already on the spot appointed, but when they saw their enemy coming they thought that he was bringing a sabre with him, for they mistook the outstretched tail of the cat for one. And when the poor beast hopped on its three legs, they could only think every time that it was picking up a stone to throw at them. So they were both afraid; the wild boar crept into the under-wood and the wolf jumped up a tree.

The dog and the cat, when they came up, wondered that there was no one to be seen. The wild boar, however, had not been able to hide himself altogether; and one of his ears was still to be seen. Whilst the cat was looking carefully about, the boar moved his ear; the cat, who thought it was a mouse moving there, jumped upon it and bit it hard. The boar made a fearful noise and ran away, crying out, "The guilty one is up in the tree." The dog and cat looked up and saw the wolf, who was ashamed of having shown himself so timid, and made friends with the dog.
Un campesino tenía un perro muy fiel, llamado "Sultán," que se había hecho viejo en su servicio y ya no le quedaban dientes para sujetar su presa.
Un día, estando el labrador con su mujer en la puerta de la casa, dijo:
- Mañana mataré al viejo "Sultán"; ya no sirve para nada.
La mujer, compadecida del fiel animal, respondió:
- Nos ha servido durante tantos años, siempre con tanta lealtad, que bien podríamos darle ahora el pan de limosna.
- ¡Qué dices, mujer! -replicó el campesino-. ¡Tú no estás en tus cabales! No le queda un colmillo en la boca, ningún ladrón le teme; ya ha terminado su misión. Si nos ha servido, tampoco le ha faltado su buena comida.
El pobre perro, que estaba tendido a poca distancia tomando el sol, oyó la conversación y entróle una gran tristeza al pensar que el día siguiente sería el último de su vida. Tenía en el bosque un buen amigo, el lobo, y, al caer la tarde, se fue a verlo para contarle la suerte que le esperaba.
- Ánimo, compadre -le dijo el lobo-, yo te sacaré del apuro. Se me ha ocurrido una idea. Mañana, de madrugada, tu amo y su mujer saldrán a buscar hierba y tendrán que llevarse a su hijito, pues no quedará nadie en casa. Mientras trabajan, acostumbran dejar al niño a la sombra del vallado. Tú te pondrás a su lado, como para vigilarlo. Yo saldré del bosque y robaré la criatura, y tú simularás que sales en mí persecución. Entonces, yo soltaré al pequeño, y los padres, pensando que lo has salvado, no querrán causarte ya ningún daño, pues son gente agradecida; antes, al contrario, en adelante te tratarán a cuerpo de rey y no te faltará nada.
Parecióle bien al perro la combinación, y las cosas discurrieron tal como habían sido planeadas. El padre prorrumpió en grandes gritos al ver que el lobo escapaba con su hijo; pero cuando el viejo "Sultán" le trajo al pequeñuelo sano y salvo, acariciando contentísimo al animal, le dijo:
- Nadie tocará un pelo de tu piel, y no te faltará el sustento mientras vivas-. Luego se dirigió a su esposa: - Ve a casa enseguida y le cueces a "Sultán" unas sopas de pan, que ésas no necesita mascarlas, y le pones en su yacija la almohada de mi cama; se la regalo.
Y, desde aquel día, "Sultán" se dio una vida de príncipe.
Al poco tiempo acudió el lobo a visitarlo, felicitándolo por lo bien que había salido el ardid.
- Pero, compadre -añadió-, ahora será cosa de que hagas la vista gorda cuando se me presente oportunidad de llevarme una oveja de tu amo. Hoy en día resulta muy difícil ganarse la vida.
- Con eso no cuentes -respondióle el perro-; yo soy fiel a mi dueño, y en esto no puedo transigir.
El lobo pensó que no hablaba en serio, y, al llegar la noche, presentóse callandito, con ánimo de robar una oveja; pero el campesino, a quien el leal "Sultán" había revelado los propósitos de la fiera, estaba al acecho, armado del mayal, y le dio una paliza que no le dejó hueso sano. El lobo escapó con el rabo entre piernas; pero le gritó al perro:
- ¡Espera, mal amigo, me la vas a pagar!
A la mañana siguiente, el lobo envió al jabalí en busca del perro, con el encargo de citarlo en el bosque, para arreglar sus diferencias. El pobre "Sultán" no encontró más auxiliar que un gato que sólo tenía tres patas, y, mientras se dirigían a la cita, el pobre minino tenía que andar a saltos, enderezando el rabo cada vez, del dolor que aquel ejercicio le causaba. El lobo y el jabalí estaban ya en el lugar convenido, aguardando al can; pero, al verlo de lejos, creyeron que blandía un sable, pues tal les pareció la cola enhiesta del gato. En cuanto a éste, que avanzaba a saltos sobre sus tres patas, pensaron que cada vez cogía una piedra para arrojársela después. A los dos compinches les entró miedo; el jabalí se escurrió entre la maleza, y el lobo se encaramó a un árbol. Al llegar el perro y el gato, extrañáronse de no ver a nadie. El jabalí, empero, no había podido ocultarse del todo entre las matas y le salían las orejas. El gato, al dirigir en torno una cautelosa mirada, vio algo que se movía y, pensando que era un ratón, pegó un brinco y mordió con toda su fuerza. El jabalí echó a correr chillando desaforadamente y gritando:
- ¡El culpable está en el árbol!
Gato y perro levantaron la mirada y descubrieron al lobo, que, avergonzado de haberse comportado tan cobardemente, hizo las paces con "Sultán."




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