The Louse and the Flea

A louse and a flea kept house together and were brewing beer in an egg-shell. Then the little louse fell in and burnt herself. On this the little flea began to scream loudly. Then said the little room-door, “Little flea, why art thou screaming?” “Because the louse has burnt herself.”

Then the little door began to creak. On this a little broom in the corner said, “Why art thou creaking, little door?” “Have I not reason to creak?”

“The little louse has burnt herself, The little flea is weeping.”

So the little broom began to sweep frantically. Then a little cart passed by and said, “Why art thou sweeping, little broom?” “Have I not reason to sweep?”

“The little louse has burnt herself, The little flea is weeping,

The little door is creaking.”

So the little cart said, “Then I will run,” and began to run wildly. Then said the ash-heap by which it ran, “Why art thou running so, little cart?” “Have I not reason to run?”

“The little louse has burnt herself, The little flea is weeping,

The little door is creaking, The little broom is sweeping.”

The ash-heap said, “Then I will burn furiously,” and began to burn in clear flames. A little tree stood near the ash-heap and said, “Ash-heap, why art thou burning?” “Have I not reason to burn?”

“The little louse has burnt herself, The little flea is weeping,

The little door is creaking, The little broom is sweeping,

The little cart is running.”

The little tree said, “Then I will shake myself,” and began to shake herself so that all her leaves fell off; a girl who came up with her water-pitcher saw that, and said, “Little tree, why art thou shaking thyself?” “Have I not reason to shake myself?”

“The little louse has burnt herself, The little flea is weeping,

The little door is creaking, The little broom is sweeping,

The little cart is running, The little ash-heap is burning.”

On this the girl said, “Then I will break my little water-pitcher,”
and she broke her little water-pitcher. Then said the little spring from
which ran the water, “Girl, why art thou breaking thy water-jug?” “Have
I not reason to break my water-jug?”

“The little louse has burnt herself, The little flea is weeping,

The little door is creaking, The little broom is sweeping,

The little cart is running, The little ash-heap is burning,

The little tree is shaking itself.”

“Oh, ho!” said the spring, “then I will begin to flow,” and began to flow violently. And in the water everything was drowned, the girl, the little tree, the little ash-heap, the little cart, the broom, the little door, the little flea, the little louse, all together.

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