Nursery Songs for December
A Child's Garden of Verses
WOLF, once upon a time, caught a fox. It happened one day that they were both going through the forest, and the wolf said to his companion: "Get me some food, or I will eat you up."
The fox replied: "I know a farmyard where there are a couple of young lambs, which, if you wish, we will fetch."
This proposal pleased the wolf, so they went, and the fox, stealing first one of the lambs, brought it to the wolf, and then ran away. The wolf devoured it quickly, but was not contented and went to fetch the other lamb by himself, but he did it so awkwardly that he aroused the attention of the mother, who began to cry and bleat loudly, so that the peasants ran up.
There they found the wolf, and beat him so unmercifully that he ran, howling and limping, to the fox, and said: "You have led me to a nice place, for, when I went to fetch the other lamb, the peasants came and beat me terribly!"
"Why are you such a glutton, then?" asked the fox.
The next day they went again into the fields.
The covetous wolf said to the fox: "Get me something to eat now, or I will devour you!"
The fox said he knew a country house where the cook was going that evening to make some pancakes, and thither they went. When they arrived, the fox sneaked and crept around the house until he at last discovered where the dish was standing, out of which he stole six pancakes, and took them to the wolf. "There is something for you to eat!" said the fox and then ran away.
The wolf dispatched these in a minute or two, and, wishing to taste some more, he went and seized the dish, but took it away so hurriedly that it broke in pieces. The noise of its fall brought out the woman. As soon as she saw the wolf, the woman called her people, who, hastening up, beat him with such a good will that he ran home to the fox, howling, with two lame legs!
"What a horrid place you have drawn me into now," cried he; "the peasants have caught me, and dressed my skin finely!"
"Why, then, are you such a glutton?" said the fox.
When they went out again the third day, the wolf limping along with weariness, he said to the fox: "Get me something to eat now, or I will devour you!"
The fox said he knew a man who had just killed a pig, and salted the meat down in a cask in his cellar, and that they could get at it. The wolf replied that he would go with him on condition that he helped him if he could not escape. "Oh, of course I will, on mine own account!" said the fox, and showed him the tricks and ways by which they could get into the cellar. When they went in there was meat in abundance, and the wolf was enraptured at the sight. The fox, too, had a taste, but kept looking around while eating, and ran frequently to the hole by which they had entered, to see if his body would slip through it easily.
Presently the wolf asked: "Why are you running about so, you fox, jumping in and out?" "I want to see if any one is coming," replied the fox cunningly; "but mind you do not eat too much!"
The wolf said he would not leave till the cask was quite empty; and meanwhile the peasant who had heard the noise made by the fox, entered the cellar. The fox, as soon as he saw him, made a spring, and was through the hole in a jiffy; and the wolf tried to follow his example, but he had eaten so much that his body was too big for the opening, and he stuck fast.
Then came the peasants with cudgels, and beat him sorely; but the fox leaped away into the forest, very glad to get rid of the old glutton.