Gateway to the Classics: A Child's Book of Stories by Penrhyn W. Coussens
A Child's Book of Stories by  Penrhyn W. Coussens

The Fox and the Rabbit

O NCE upon a time a fox and a rabbit were neighbors, and one fine spring morning the fox asked the rabbit if he would go hunting with him. The rabbit said, "I do not think I can go with you to-day, as I shall be very busy."

But when the fox had gone, the rabbit, who really had nothing to do, sat in the sun and enjoyed the beautiful morning air. After a while he spied the fox returning from his hunt, and he thought out a scheme whereby he might secure possession of the fox's game bag.

He went a little way into the forest, and lay down as if he were dead. When the fox came up to him, he touched him with his paw, and said to himself, "Here is a nice fat rabbit for which I will presently return, and add to my larder."

When the rabbit saw the fox go on, he got up, took a short cut ahead of him, and lay down as before. Seeing, as he supposed, another rabbit fast asleep, the fox said to himself, "Fat rabbits seem to be very plentiful this season; I will take this one home with me." Then he thought he would go back and get the other one; so he put his game-bag down on the grass by the stump of a tree, and started back.

When the rabbit saw that he was alone, he took the bag and hid it in a thick clump of bushes. Then he ran behind a tree, and waited to see what would happen.

The fox returned with a disgusted look on his face. He, a fox, had been fooled, and when he saw that his game-bag had been taken, he became very angry indeed. A cunning trick had been played upon him, and he looked about to see if he could find the culprit.

The rabbit was very proud of the fact that he had outwitted his neighbour, and, seeing the look of anger and disgust on the fox's face, laughed so loudly that he betrayed his hiding-place. Fortunately for him, his burrow was close by, and he reached it only just in time to escape the fox, who would have made short work of him if he had caught him.

While the fox was watching for the rabbit to come out, a boy passing by saw the game-bag in the clump of bushes, and, picking it up, threw it over his shoulder, and walked off with it. And so neither the fox nor the rabbit had the game.

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