But they couldn't reach the city of Bremen in one day and they came to a wood where they decided to spend the night. The donkey and the dog lay down under a large tree; the cat and the cock went up into the branches but the cock flew up to the top of the tree where he felt the safest. Before he fell asleep he looked around in the direction of all four winds and thought he saw a little light shining in the distance; so he called to his friends that there must be a house not so far away since he could see a light shining. Then the donkey said, "We had better go over there for the accommodation here is pretty bad." The dog said he could also do with a few bones with a little meat on them. So they set off in the direction of the light and soon it got brighter and larger until they came to a brightly lit robbers' house. Being the largest of the four, the donkey approached the window and looked inside. "What can you see, old grey nag?" asked the cock. "What can I see?" answered the donkey. "A table laid with lovely things to eat and drink, with a band of robbers sitting around and having a good time." "Why can't we do the same", said the cock. "Ooh yes, if only we could be there!" said the donkey. The animals conferred amongst themselvers about how they could chase away the robbers and finally they hit on an idea. The donkey would put his front hooves on the window ledge, the dog would jump on the donkey's back, the cat would climb on the dog and the cock would fly up and sit on the cat's head. So they all did this and, at a signal, they began to play their music: the donkey brayed, the dog barked, the cat miaowed and the cock crew. Then fell through the window into the room, shattering the window-pane as they went. The robbers jumped out of their skins at the terrible clamour, thinking it must be a ghost, and fled in great fear to the woods.
Now the four companions sat down at the table and made do with what was left over, eating as if it was their last meal for a month.
When the four musicians had finished they put out the light and looked for a place to sleep, each according to his nature and desired comfort. The donkey lay down on the midden, the dog behind the door, the cat on the stove near the warm ashed and the cock sat on a perch; and, because they were tired after their long journey, they were all very soon asleep. Sometime after midnight the robbers noticed from afar that all lights in the house were out and everything seemed to be quiet. So the leader said: "We shouldn't have let ourselves be frightened out of ours wits", and asked one of the robbers to go and check up on the house. The robber found everything quiet, went into the kitchen to make a light, and mistaking the glowing fiery eyes of the cat for live coals, he held a match to them thinking it would light. But the cat was not in a joking mood and jumped at his throat, spitting and scratching. The robber was terrified and tried to run out of the back door but the dog, which was lying there, jumped up and bit him in the leg; and as he ran past the midden in the farmyard the donkey lashed out with his hind hoof; but the cock, who had been roused from his sleep by the din and was now fully awake, called out "cock-a-doodle-doo!" from his perch. The robber ran back to his leader at full pelt and said "there's a dreadful witch in that house; she spat on me and scratched my face with her long fingers; and by the door there is a man standing with a knife, who stabbed my leg; and in the farmyard there is a black monster which attacked me with a wooden club; and on the roof there is a judge sitting who called out "bring the scoundrel to me". "So I got away as fast as I could." From that time onwards the robbers did not dare to go near the house but the four Bremen Musicians liked it so much that they didn't want to leave again. And they all lived happily ever after.