The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vol. XIV: RussianScandinavianMiscellaneous
By Ivan Krylov (17681844)
From the Fables
THE TRICKSY monkey, the goat, the ass, and bandy-legged Mishka, the bear, determined to play a quartet. They provided themselves with the necessary instrumentstwo fiddles, an alto, and a bass. Then they all settled down under a large tree, with the object of dazzling the world by their artistic performance. They fiddled away lustily for some time, but only succeeded in making a noise, and no music.
Stop, my friends! said the monkey, this will not do; our music does not sound as it ought. It is plain that we are in the wrong positions. You, Mishka, take your bass and face the alto; I will go opposite the second fiddle. Then we shall play altogether differently, so that the very hills and forests will dance.
The quartet was as unmusical as ever. Then they stopped again, and began squabbling and wrangling about the proper positions to be taken. It happened that a nightingale came flying by that way, attracted by their din. They begged the nightingale to solve their difficulty for them.