Why The Bear Has A Short Tail

One cold morning when the fox was coming up the road with some fish, he

met the bear.

"Good-morning, Mr. Fox," said the bear.

"Good-morning, Mr. Bear," said the fox. "The morning is brighter because

I have met you."

"Those are very good fish, Mr. Fox," said the bear. "I have not eaten

such fish for many a day. Where do you find them?"

"I have been fishing, Mr. Bear," answered the fox.

"If I could catch such fish as those, I should like to go fishing, but I

do not know how to fish."

"It would be very easy for you to learn, Mr. Bear," said the fox. "You

are so big and strong that you can do anything."

"Will you teach me, Mr. Fox?" asked the bear.

"I would not tell everybody, but you are such a good friend that I will

teach you. Come to this pond, and I will show you how to fish through

the ice."

So the fox and the bear went to the frozen pond, and the fox showed the

bear how to make a hole in the ice.

"That is easy for you," said the fox, "but many an animal could not have

made that hole. Now comes the secret. You must put your tail down into

the water and keep it there. That is not easy, and not every animal

could do it, for the water is very cold; but you are a learned animal,

Mr. Bear, and you know that the secret of catching fish is to keep your

tail in the water a long time. Then when you pull it up, you will pull

with it as many fish as I have."

The bear put his tail down into the water, and the fox went away. The

sun rose high in the heavens, and still the bear sat with his tail

through the hole in the ice. Sunset came, but still the bear sat with

his tail through the hole in the ice, for he thought, "When an animal is

really learned, he will not fear a little cold."

It began to be dark, and the bear said, "Now I will pull the fish out of

the water. How good they will be!" He pulled and pulled, but not a fish

came out. Worse than that, not all of his tail came out, for the end of

it was frozen fast to the ice.

He went slowly down the road, growling angrily, "I wish I could find

that fox;" but the cunning fox was curled up in his warm nest, and

whenever he thought of the bear he laughed.

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