A hungry Wolf was passing through a wood when he came upon a Hare sitting up on her hind legs at the foot of an oak tree. He was about to spring upon her, when the Hare suddenly spoke to him.
"Sir Wolf," she said, "I know that you are faint with hunger, and that you are out in search of food. But before you swallow me, I ask you to think of my size, and remember that I shall be but a solitary mouthful for your Highness. Now about a furlong from here there lives a Fox, who is so plump and fat that he can scarcely walk. If you should eat him, then you would indeed feel that you had truly dined. If it is pleasing to you, I will pay this Fox a visit; entice him from his hole, and, if he prove to your liking, you can devour him."
The Wolf was easily persuaded by these words, and told the Hare to run on ahead to the hole of the Fox. When she had arrived there, she bade the Wolf remain outside while she went in.
"Ah! now not only am I free from the Wolf, but I will have my revenge on this old Fox, who has so often chased my white tail through the bushes," she thought to herself.
When she came to the Fox, she put on a very meek expression, and bowed low. The Fox was very civil, and asked the Hare what good fortune it was that had brought her there.
"Only the great desire to see your Worship," replied the Hare humbly; "and there is one of my relations at the door who is no less anxious to kiss your hands, but he dares not enter without your permission."
The cunning Fox mistrusted the Hare's flattering words, but he said to himself, "I will repay her in her own coin." At the same time he answered aloud, "Madam, you do me great honor. Your friend shall be most welcome. But," he added, "before receiving him I must ask you to allow me first to sweep out the corners of the house and spread down my best carpet."
The Hare therefore went out and told the Wolf all that had happened. The Wolf's mouth fairly watered with the thought of his fine dinner.
But the Fox was by no means the stupid creature that the Hare took him to be. He had long ago built a deep pit in the centre of his passageway, and covered it over with sticks so that no one besides himself knew that it was there. He now hastened to take away the sticks and cover the pit merely with straw. When this was done, he asked the Hare and his friend to walk in. The Hare, curious to see the finish of her little game, followed the Wolf, and before they knew it, both found themselves rolling together in the bottom of the pit. The Wolf, believing that the Hare had planned this device, immediately fell upon her and ate her up, while the Fox stole out of his hole by a secret door.