The Dog and the Sparrow

The Dog and the SparrowSummary

The Dog and the Sparrow is about a bird you don’t want to make angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry. He turns all big and green and goes around smashing stuff…no, wrong story, but you really won’t like this bird if you tick it off.

Once upon a time there was a dog who was a pretty good dog, but had a terrible master who would often leave him hungry. One day a little sparrow asked him what was wrong. The dog tells the sparrow that he is hungry. He has nothing to eat. The sparrow, being a nice bird, decides to help the dog out.

They go to town, where the bird first pecks a bit of meat off at a vendor’s stall for the dog. The dog eats that and the bird asks him if he is satisfied. The dog isn’t quite satisfied, so the bird goes to another stall and gets the dog another piece of meat. He asks the dog if he is satisfied. The dog says he needs bread now, so the bird goes to a baker’s stall and pecks some rolls down for him. After this the dog is tired and wants to sleep. They go out of the city just a little ways and the dog lies down in the road to sleep while the sparrow sits in a branch to keep watch.

After a while, the sparrow sees a wagon coming. He sees that the wagon driver is not going to turn away from the dog. He tells the man driving the wagon that if he runs over the dog, the sparrow will make him poor. The wagon driver thinks nothing of the sparrow’s threat and runs over the dog, killing it. The sparrow is ticked.

He flies into the wagon which was carrying wine in barrels. He pecks at one of the bungs( this is a piece of cork or wood that seals a wine barrel) until he works it loose. The man’s wine leaks out onto the road. The man sees this and is angry, but the bird is not through with him yet. The bird flew to one of the horses and pecked its eyes out. The man tried to hit the bird with the axe, but killed the horse instead. The bird then flew to the second horse. The man tried to hit the bird again with the axe, but killed the second horse instead. Then the sparrow flew to the third horse. The same thing happened. The man has lost all his wine and his three horses. He has no choice but to leave his wagon and walk home. He laments what an unfortunate man he is, but the bird simply threatens that he will now make the man unfortunate at home.

When the man gets home she tells him something awful. A little sparrow came with all the birds in the world and ate up all the corn in the field. Then the birds went into the loft and ate all of the stored corn. The wagon driver is mad and vows to get the bird, but the bird threatens him again. He says that the wagon driver will lose his life for his deed. The bird lands on one item in the room. The man tries to kill the bird with his axe and smashes the item. He smashes the stove, the mirror and pretty much everything in the house. He finally catches the bird in his hands. He decides that it would be smart of him to swallow the bird, so he does.

The sparrow is too tough to be put down by this new turn of events. He climbs back up the man’s throat and into his mouth. The man knows the bird is there and gives his axe to the wife. He tells her to kill the bird for him. Well, she missed. In the end the wagon driver has lost his life. The sparrow was unharmed and flew away.

The End

The Dog and the SparrowObservations

I wonder if this bird belongs to the mafia? This is one tough bird. Sparrows are tiny little things, but this bird caused a lot of big things to happen.

This man was obviously a jerk. Who runs over a dog on purpose? Lots of people actually and it’s very sad. We actually had a dog that was run over on purpose, on Valentine’s day, in front of our eyes while we were waiting for the school bus. I don’t get this idea that it’s ok to treat animals cruelly. I don’t get this idea that it’s ok to run over dogs, cats, rabbits, or even snakes on purpose. Look here, if you can avoid an animal in the road, you should. There is no reason to run over an animal on purpose, no matter what kind of animal it is. If it is not reasonable to avoid said animal, then you lamentably run over the animal in order to prevent death of yourself or someone in another car. It’s simple.

The dog and the SparrowThemes

I don’t have many observations about this tale, because it is fairly straight-forward, but there are some nice themes in this tale to pick out. We have this idea of animal cruelty. We have this idea of small things accomplishing great things. We also have this idea that life matters.

It’s not cool to be mean to animals. It is not cool to kill animals that you do not need to kill. Is this animal going to provide you food? Yes… then you can kill it. Is this animal threatening your life? Yes… then you can kill it. Is this animal threatening the lives of your livestock or children(not that they’re the same thing)? Yes… then you can kill it. Is this animal in the road and can you avoid it within reason? Yes… then, no, you cannot kill it.

I grew up in an area of the United States where dog theft is a common occurrence. I grew up in an area of the country where people do run over small creatures on purpose. It’s a very immature thing to do. It’s a low-life kind of thing to do. There was a lot of dog theft because people ran illegal dog fighting rings. People would also just kill dogs for the heck of it. I went through so many dogs growing up that I could not recount to you all of their names. They were stolen. They were murdered by the neighbors. They were run over on purpose. The list goes on. This isn’t nice. It’s not funny. It’s not cool. It’s wrong.

I would never do something like that to someone else. The dog in this story belongs to somebody, even though he’s kind of a jerk to the dog. This dog has an owner, but this wagon driver, runs it over on purpose. What if this was the man’s hunting dog? What if this dog pulled his cart? What if this dog guarded his sheep? What if this dog was his best friend? That’s probably not the case since he doesn’t feed it very well. This wagon driver took the life of this dog and took that dog away from its owner. It’s pretty much theft and cruelty to animals.

Seriously, how fast are you going in a wagon if you run over a dog and kill it? This is a wooden wagon, not a steel and aluminum car. This wagon driver must have been moving it. That wine was probably illegal for some reason.

This bird is tiny. Sparrows are quite small. This bird accomplishes a lot of things, granted, those things do include murder, so please don’t make him angry. Small things can lead to big things. We know that. We know that one little bacteria can invade your body and wreak havoc. We know that one little kind deed can be passed on and have a ripple effect on many people. This is a great story to show the idea that small things can be the start of something big. I don’t really agree with the whole murder thing though.

Gregory Maguire’s Oz series keeps coming to mind. In the series Liir, makes friends with the birds who follow him around and help him do all manner of things. These birds work in concert to cause a big thing to happen. They eat an entire field of corn and all the corn in the house. Does this happen in real life? Do birds of a feather plot together? Yes, they do! We’re not going to reference Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, but you can think about that movie if you want to. I prefer not to; I hate that movie.

Have you ever been somewhere, anywhere, and seen hundreds of birds flying around together and swooping here and there. They all sit in the same tree. They all seem to be making their bird noises at the same time. These birds do act together. I don’t know how the communicate with each other to determine which way the entire group of birds is going to swoop, but they do it somehow. It’s rather interesting to watch, just as long as you’re not standing directly beneath them.

I would like to call to your attention a real thing that happened over a hundred years ago. In Utah, the Mormon pioneers had just arrived not many months before. They had planted their crops. They were waiting to start this new life away from the rest of the world. One day a terribly misfortune befell them .A giant cloud of crickets came and started to devour all of their crops. We are not talking about a few hundred crickets. We’re talking about thousands, tens of thousands, and maybe even more crickets devouring the crops that are supposed to feed these people throughout the next year. When the pioneers realized this they tried to fight off the crickets in vain. How are people ever supposed to fight off than many insects? A great thing happened. Out of nowhere, seemingly, comes a huge flock of seagulls, yes, real seagulls. The seagulls proceed to eat ALL of the crickets.

How did these birds communicate with each other? How did they say, “Hey, buffet at ten o’clock”?  These birds by themselves were small, but together they saved an entire people from starvation. That’s impressive.

Maybe I understand Arthur Dent’s effort into speaking bird a little better now. As you may or may not know, Arthur Dent of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy does, in fact, learn to speak bird during his travels across the galaxy.

I’ve said it before…death is death and torture is torture. This dog is a dog. Dogs surely aren’t worth as much as a person, but they’re still worth something. Life is still life. It still matters. That little animal you’re thinking about torturing still feels pain and various emotions. It’s wrong to end its life, or torture it, as if the poor thing is meaningless. It’s not meaningless. It’s a living breathing creature. It has a mind. It has emotions. It has loyalties, maybe, depending on what type of animal we’re talking about.

I do not care what type of animal it is, you shouldn’t be killing it or torturing it for the heck of it. What does that say about you as a person if you’re killing or torturing a mostly defenseless animal? If a bear is trying to eat you, I totally understand ending its life. In fact, I would encourage you to do so.


I like this sparrow’s loyalty to this dog, but I’m also a little wary of this sparrow. Do not ever tick it off. I guess another moral of the story is that little things can have big tempers.

angry sparrow, animal cruelty, birds working together, dog, grimm’s fairy tales, sparrow, the dog and the sparrow, the dog and the sparrow grimm’s fairy tales, wagon driver runs over dog
Grimm’s Fairy Tales


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