73 – The Wolf and the Fox

KHM 73 - The Wolf and the Fox

A wolf and a fox once lived together. The fox, who was the weaker of the two, had to do all the hard work, which made him anxious to leave his companion.
One day, passing through a wood, the wolf said, “Red-fox, get me something to eat, or I shall eat you.”
The fox answered, “I know a place where there are a couple of nice young lambs; if you like, we will go and fetch one.”
This pleased the wolf, so they went. The fox stole one, brought it to the wolf, and then ran away, leaving his comrade to devour it. This done, the wolf was not content, but wishing for the other, went himself to fetch it; and being very awkward, the old sheep saw him, and began to cry and bleat so horribly that the farmer s people came running to see what was the matter. Of course they found the wolf there, and beat him so unmercifully, that, howling and limping, he returned to the fox. ”You had already shown me how, so I went to fetch the other lamb,” said he, “but the farmer’s people discovered me, and have nearly killed me.”
“Why are you such a glutton?” replied the fox.
The next day they went again into the fields. “Red-fox,” said the wolf, “get me something quickly to eat, or I shall eat you I”
“Well,” replied the fox, “I know a farm, where the woman is baking pancakes this evening; let us go and fetch some.” They went accordingly, and the fox, slipping round the house, peeped and sniffed so long, that he found out at last where the dish stood, then quietly abstracting six pancakes, he carried them to the wolf.
“Here is something for you to eat,” said he, and then went away. The wolf had swallowed the six pancakes in a very short space of time, and said, “I should very much like some more.” But going to help himself, he pulled the dish down from the shelf; it broke into a thousand pieces, and the noise, in addition, brought out the farmer’s wife to discover what was the matter. Upon seeing the wolf, she raised such an alarm, that all the people came with sticks or any weapon they could snatch. The consequence was that the wolf barely escaped with his life; he was beaten so severely that he could scarcely hobble to the wood where the fox was.
“Pretty mischief you have led me into,” said the wolf, when he saw him, “the peasants have caught, and nearly flayed me.”
“Why, then, are you such a glutton?” replied the fox.
Upon a third occasion, being out together, and the wolf only able with difficulty to limp about, he nevertheless said again, “Red-fox, get me something to eat, or I shall eat you!”
“Well,” said the fox, “I know a man who has been butchering, and has all the meat salted down in a tub in his cellar. We will go and fetch it.”
“That will do,” said the wolf, “but I must go with you, and you can help me to get off, if anything should happen.”
The fox then showed him all the by-ways, and at last they came to the cellar, where they found meat in abundance, which the wolf instantly greedily attacked, saying at the same time to himself, “Here, there is no occasion to hurry.” The fox also showed no hesitation, only, while eating, he looked sharply about him, and ran occasionally to the hole by which they had entered in order to try if he was still small enough to get out by the same way he had come in.
“Friend fox,” said the wolf, “pray tell me why you are so fidgety, and why you run about in such an odd manner.” “I am looking out, lest any one should come,” replied the cunning creature. “Come, are you not eating too much?”
“I am not going away,” said the wolf, “until the tub is empty; that would be foolish!”
In the meantime, the farmer, who had heard the fox running about, came into the cellar to see what was stirring, and upon the first sight of him, the fox with one leap was through the hole and on his way to the wood. But when the wolf attempted to follow, he had so increased his size by his greediness, that he could not succeed, and stuck in the hole, which enabled the farmer to kill him with his cudgel. The fox, however, reached the wood in safety, and rejoiced to be freed from the old glutton.