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A dog owner lets his shepherd dog starve from hunger, causing the dog to leave home. The dog meets a sparrow and accompanies him to the city. The bird captures meat and bread for the dog as a sign of gratitude. When they leave town night falls and they decide to go to sleep. During the night the dog is run over by a man in a horse carriage. The sparrow alerts the man on the carriage, but he ignores the sparrow and runs over the dog. She curses the man by announcing that he will turn into a poor man. Then she pecks the wine barrels the man was transporting open, so that the precious wine leaks out. The bird also pecks out the horses' eyes. When the man tries to kill the bird with an axe he accidentally slays his own horses down. As a result the man is forced to leave his now useless carriage behind and returns home.
At home he notices that birds have eaten all his wheat. He notices the sparrow, still out on revenge, and throws his axe at him, only to smash in his own windows, his stove and the rest of his household. Finally he manages to capture the bird and his wife asks him whether he is going to hit it dead? The man feels this death is not cruel enough for the bird. He swallows it in one big bite. However, the bird still sticks it head out of the man's mouth, prompting him to let his wife take a final swing with his axe at the bird. This kills the man and the bird flies off.
The Grimms collected the story in Zwehrn in Nederhessen.
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