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Two or three hundred years ago, when people were far from being so crafty and cunning as they are now-a-day, an extraordinary event took place in a little town. By some mischance one of the great owls, called horned owls, had come from the neighboring woods into the barn of one of the townsfolk in the night-time, and when day broke did not dare to venture forth again from her retreat, for fear of the other birds, which raised a terrible outcry whenever she appeared. In the morning when the man-servant went into the barn to lớn fetch some straw, he was so mightily alarmed at the sight of the owl sitting there in a corner, that he ran away & announced to lớn his master that a monster, the like of which he had never mix eyes on in his life, & which could devour a man without the slightest difficulty, was sitting in the barn, rolling its eyes about in its head. "I know you already," said the master, "you have courage enough to lớn chase a blackbird about the fields, but when you see a dead hen lying, you have lớn get a stick before you go near it. I must go and see for myself what kind of a quái dị it is," added the master, và went quite boldly into the granary và looked round him. When, however, he saw the strange grim creature with his own eyes, he was no less terrified than the servant had been. With two bounds he sprang out, ran lớn his neighbours, & begged them imploringly to lend him assistance against an unknown và dangerous beast, or else the whole town might be in danger if it were to lớn break loose out of the barn, where it was shut up. A great noise and clamour arose in all the streets, the townsmen came armed with spears, hay-forks, scythes, & axes, as if they were going out against an enemy; finally, the senators appeared with the burgomaster at their head. When they had drawn up in the market- place, they marched to the barn, and surrounded it on all sides. Thereupon one of the most courageous of them stepped forth và entered with his spear lowered, but came running out immediately afterwards with a shriek và as pale as death, & could not utter a single word. Yet two others ventured in, but they fared no better. At last one stepped forth; a great strong man who was famous for his warlike deeds, and said, "You will not drive away the boss by merely looking at him; we must be in earnest here, but I see that you have all tuned into women, và not one of you dares to lớn encounter the animal." He ordered them lớn give him some armour, had a sword and spear brought, và armed himself. All praised his courage, though many feared for his life. The two barn-doors were opened, & they saw the owl, which in the meantime had perched herself on the middle of a great cross-beam. He had a ladder brought, và when he raised it, và made ready to climb up, they all cried out lớn him that he was to lớn bear himself bravely, & commended him to St. George, who slew the dragon. When he had just got khổng lồ the top, & the owl perceived that he had designs on her, & was also bewildered by the crowd and the shouting, and knew not how lớn escape, she rolled her eyes, ruffled her feathers, flapped her wings, snapped her beak, và cried, "Tuwhit, tuwhoo," in a harsh voice. "Strike home! strike home!" screamed the crowd outside khổng lồ the valiant hero. "Any one who was standing where I am standing," answered he, "would not cry, strike home!" He certainly did plant his foot one rung higher on the ladder, but then he began khổng lồ tremble, and half-fainting, went back again. Và now there was no one left who dared to lớn put himself in such danger. "The monster," said they, "has poisoned và mortally wounded the very strongest man among us, by snapping at him và just breathing on him! Are we, too, lớn risk our lives?" They took counsel as khổng lồ what they ought to bởi to prevent the whole town being destroyed. For a long time everything seemed lớn be of no use, but at length the burgomaster found an expedient. "My opinion," said he, "is that we ought, out of the common purse, to pay for this barn, & whatsoever corn, straw, or giỏi it contains, và thus indemnify the owner, and then burn down the whole building, và the terrible beast with it. Thus no one will have to endanger his life. This is no time for thinking of expense, và niggardliness would be ill applied." All agreed with him. So they phối fire to the barn at all four corners, và with it the owl was miserably burnt. Let any one who will not believe it, go thither & inquire for himself.
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