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The Fox And The Cat

Source: Cossack Fairy Tales And Folk Tales

In a certain forest there once lived a fox, and near to the fox lived
a man who had a cat that had been a good mouser in its youth, but was
now old and half blind. The man didn't want puss any longer, but not
liking to kill it, took it out into the forest and lost it there. Then
the fox came up and said, "Why, Mr Shaggy Matthew! How d'ye do! What
brings you here?"--"Alas!" said Pussy, "my master loved me as long as
I could bite, but now that I can bite no longer and have left off
catching mice--and I used to catch them finely once--he doesn't like
to kill me, but he has left me in the wood where I must perish
miserably."--"No, dear Pussy!" said the fox; "you leave it to me, and
I'll help you to get your daily bread."--"You are very good, dear
little sister foxey!" said the cat, and the fox built him a little
shed with a garden round it to walk about in.

Now one day the hare came to steal the man's cabbage.
"Kreem-kreem-kreem!" he squeaked. But the cat popped his head out of
the window, and when he saw the hare, he put up his back and stuck up
his tail and said, "Ft-t-t-t-t-Frrrrrrr!" The hare was frightened and
ran away and told the bear, the wolf, and the wild boar all about it.
"Never mind," said the bear, "I tell you what, we'll all four give a
banquet, and invite the fox and the cat, and do for the pair of them.
Now, look here! I'll steal the man's mead; and you, Mr Wolf, steal his
fat-pot; and you, Mr Wildboar, root up his fruit-trees; and you, Mr
Bunny, go and invite the fox and the cat to dinner."

So they made everything ready as the bear had said, and the hare ran
off to invite the guests. He came beneath the window and said, "We
invite your little ladyship Foxey-Woxey, together with Mr Shaggy
Matthew, to dinner"--and back he ran again.--"But you should have told
them to bring their spoons with them," said the bear.--"Oh, what a
head I've got! if I didn't quite forget!" cried the hare, and back he
went again, ran beneath the window and cried, "Mind you bring your
spoons!"--"Very well," said the fox.

So the cat and the fox went to the banquet, and when the cat saw the
bacon, he put up his back and stuck out his tail, and cried, "Mee-oo,
mee-oo!" with all his might. But they thought he said, "Ma-lo,
ma-lo[15]!"--"What!" said the bear, who was hiding behind the beeches
with the other beasts, "here have we four been getting together all we
could, and this pig-faced cat calls it too little! What a monstrous
cat he must be to have such an appetite!" So they were all four very
frightened, and the bear ran up a tree, and the others hid where they
could. But when the cat saw the boar's bristles sticking out from
behind the bushes he thought it was a mouse, and put up his back again
and cried, "Ft! ft! ft! Frrrrrrr!" Then they were more frightened than
ever. And the boar went into a bush still farther off, and the wolf
went behind an oak, and the bear got down from the tree, and climbed
up into a bigger one, and the hare ran right away.

[15] What a little! What a little!

But the cat remained in the midst of all the good things and ate away
at the bacon, and the little fox gobbled up the honey, and they ate
and ate till they couldn't eat any more, and then they both went home
licking their paws.

Next: The Straw Ox

Previous: The Old Dog

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