(see previous page for audio)The next morning, as he was getting near Madrid, he passed a large chestnut tree in whose branches the wind was caught and entangled. 'Oh! Medio Pollito,' called the wind, 'do hop up here and help me to get free of these branches. I cannot come away, and it is so uncomfortable.'
'It is your own fault for going there,' answered Medio Pollito. 'I can't waste all my morning stopping here to help you. Just shake yourself off, and don't hinder me, for I am off to Madrid to see the King,' and hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick, away stumped Medio Pollito in great glee, for the towers and roofs of Madrid were now in sight.
When he entered the town, he saw before him a great splendid house, with soldiers standing before the gates. This he knew must be the King's palace, and he determined to hop up to the front gate and wait there until the King came out.
But as he was hopping past one of the back windows the King's cook saw him: 'Here is the very thing I want,' he exclaimed, 'for the King has just sent a message to say that he must have chicken broth for his dinner,' and, opening the window, he stretched out his arm, caught Medio Pollito, and popped him into the broth-pot that was standing near the fire. Oh! how wet and clammy the water felt as it went over Medio Pollito's head, making his feathers cling to his side.
'Water, water!' he cried in his despair, 'do have pity upon me and do not wet me like this.'
'Ah! Medio Pollito,' replied the water, 'you would not help me when I was a little stream away on the fields; now you must be punished.'
Then the fire began to burn and scald Medio Pollito, and he danced and hopped from one side of the pot to the other, trying to get away from the heat and crying out in pain: 'Fire, fire! Do not scorch me like this; you can't think how it hurts.'
'Ah! Medio Pollito,' answered the fire, 'you would not help me when I was dying away in the wood. You are being punished.'
At last, just when the pain was so great that Medio Pollito thought he must die, the cook lifted up the lid of the pot to see if the broth was ready for the King's dinner.
'Look here!' he cried in horror, 'this chicken is quite useless. It is burnt to a cinder. I can't send it up to the royal table,' and, opening the window, he threw Medio Pollito out into the street. But the wind caught him up and whirled him through the air so quickly that Medio Pollito could scarcely breathe, and his heart beat against his side till he thought it would break.
'Oh, wind!' at last he gasped out, 'if you hurry me along like this you will kill me. Do let me rest a moment, or — ' but he was so breathless that he could not finish his sentence.
'Ah! Medio Pollito,' replied the wind, 'when I was caught in the branches of the chestnut tree, you would not help me; now you are punished.' And he swirled Medio Pollito over the roofs of the houses till they reached the highest church in the town, and there he left him fastened to the top of the steeple.
And there stands Medio Pollito to this day. And if you go to Madrid, and walk through the streets till you come to the highest church, you will see Medio Pollito perched on his one leg on the steeple, with his one wing drooping at his side, gazing sadly out of his one eye over the town.
Next: Clever Maria