Once upon a time there was a wee, wee Lambikin, who frolicked about on his little tottery legs, and enjoyed himself amazingly.
Now one day he set off to visit his Granny, and was jumping with joy to think of all the good things he should get from her, when whom should he meet but a Jackal, who looked at the tender young morsel and said, "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"
But Lambikin only gave a little frisk and said,—
The Jackal thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.
By and by he met a Vulture, and the Vulture, looking hungrily at the tender morsel before him, said, "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"
But Lambikin only gave a little frisk, and said,—
The Vulture thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.
And by and by he met a Tiger, and then a Wolf and a Dog and an Eagle, and all these, when they saw the tender little morsel, said, "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"
But to all of them Lambikin replied, with a little frisk,—
At last he reached his Granny's house, and said, all in a great hurry, "Granny, dear, I've promised to get very fat; so, as people ought to keep their promises, please put me into the corn-bin at once."
So his Granny said he was a good boy, and put him into the corn-bin, and there the greedy little Lambikin stayed for seven days, and ate, and ate, and ate, until he could scarcely waddle, and his Granny said he was fat enough for anything, and must go home. But cunning little Lambikin said that would never do, for some animal would be sure to eat him on the way back, he was so plump and tender.
"I'll tell you what you must do," said Master Lambikin; "you must make a little drumikin out of the skin of my little brother who died, and then I can sit inside and trundle along nicely, for I'm as tight as a drum myself."
So his Granny made a nice little drumikin out of his brother's skin, with the wool inside, and Lambikin curled himself up snug and warm in the middle and trundled away gayly. Soon he met with the Eagle, who called out,—
And Mr. Lambikin, curled up in his soft, warm nest, replied,—
"How very annoying!" sighed the Eagle, thinking regretfully of the tender morsel he had let slip.
Meanwhile Lambikin trundled along, laughing to himself, and singing,—
Every animal and bird he met asked him the same question,—
And to each of them the little slyboots replied,—
Then they all sighed to think of the tender little morsel they had let slip.
At last the Jackal came limping along, for all his sorry looks as sharp as a needle, and he, too, called out,—
And Lambikin, curled up in his snug little nest, replied gayly,—
But he never got any further, for the Jackal recognized his voice at once, and cried, "Hullo! you've turned yourself inside out, have you? Just you come out of that!"
Whereupon he tore open Drumikin and gobbled up Lambikin.