The Fox's Servant
A day or so later the fox met the wolf. The fox hadn't seen much of him
recently, for the wolf had been having a hard time and had been on the
verge of starvation. Now he was sleek again and well fed, for he had
recently killed an ox.
"Good day," the fox said in a friendly way.
"Good day. How are you?" said the wolf.
"Very fine indeed!" the fox said. "You see I have a new servant, a
wonderful servant! He's not big to look at, but he's so strong and
quick that he'd jump on you in a minute and eat you up before you knew
what was happening!"
"Yes, really! You just ought to see him!"
"I'd like to see him," the wolf said.
"Well, you might slip down now and take a peep in the kitchen. He's at
home. But I warn you not to let him see you! If he catches sight of
you, I won't be responsible for what follows!"
The wolf was deeply impressed with all this. He crept carefully down to
the fox's kitchen and sniffed cautiously at the crack under the door.
The cat inside, seeing the tip of the wolf's nose and thinking it was a
mouse, pounced on it with all his claws. This gave the wolf a mighty
fright and he bolted madly off into the forest.
He was still panting when he met the bear. "Have you heard about that awful creature that the fox has for a servant?" he asked.
The bear had heard nothing, so the wolf told him of his own terrifying experience.
The bear's curiosity was aroused. "I must have a glimpse of this
wonderful servant," he said, ambling off in the direction of the fox's
"I'll wait for you here," the wolf called after him, "and I warn you, be careful!"
When the bear got to the fox's kitchen, quietly stuck his nose under
the crack of the door and peered inside. He hardly had time for one
peek when a terrible creature with a straight tail that looked like a
spear came flying through the air, landed on his nose, and drove it
full of pins and needles.
"Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" the bear whimpered as he hurried back to the wolf.
"Did you see him?" the wolf asked.
"I got just one glimpse of him," the bear said. "He had a long spear
sticking up over his shoulder and he came swooping down through the air
just as if he had wings!"
"My! I wish we could really see him!" the wolf said. "Suppose we ask
the fox to arrange some way we can have a good look at him."
So they went to the fox, and he said, "Well, if you make a feast and invite my servant, I think he will come."
"All right," the wolf said, "that's what we'll do. I've still got some of that ox. It will make a fine feast."
So they roasted the remains of the ox and set it out.
"Now I'll go get my servant," the fox said. "When you hear us coming,
you two hide some place where you can see us but we cannot see you. If
my servant once sees you I won't be responsible for the consequences!"
So the wolf hid in some bushes nearby and the bear drew himself up into
the branches of a tree. The fox and the cat arrived and sat them down
to the feast.
Now it happened that the wolf was not able to see, so he tried to twist
himself around into a better position. The cat caught a glimpse of his
tail moving in the bushes and at once pounced on it. With one terrified
yelp, the wolf jumped out of the bushes and fled into the forest as
fast as he could.
In fright the cat scampered up the tree and the bear supposed that the
awful creature now was after him. In his frantic efforts to escape he
tumbled down out of the tree and broke two ribs. But for all that he
made off, too terrified to look back.
So the fox and the cat were left to finish the ox in peace.