The Stolen Charm

: Aino Folktales

A very rich man kept a puppy and a fox-cub. Besides these he possessed a

tiny silver model of a ship,--a charm given to him by some god, what god

I know not. One day this charm was stolen, and could nowhere be found.

The rich man was so violently grieved at this, that he lay down and

refused all food, and was like to die. Meanwhile the puppy and the

fox-cub played about in his room. But when they saw, after some time,

hat the man was really going to die, the fox-cub said to the puppy: "If

our master dies, we shall die of hunger too; so we had better search for

the charm." So they consulted as to the best way to search for it; and

at last the fox-cub was struck by the idea that the ogre who lived at

the top of the large mountain that stands at the end of the world might

have stolen the charm and put it into his box. The fox-cub seemed to see

that this had really happened. So the two little animals determined to

go and rescue the charm from the ogre. But they knew that they could not

accomplish this alone, and resolved to add the rat[-god] to their

number. So they invited the rat, and the three went off, dancing


Now the ogre was always looking steadily in the direction of the sick

rich man, hoping that he would die. So he did not notice the approach of

the fox-cub, the dog, and the rat. So when they reached the ogre's

house, the rat, with the help of the fox-cub, scooped out a passage

under and into the house, by which all three made their way in. They

then decided that it must be left to the rat to get hold of the charm by

nibbling a hole in the box in which it was kept. Meanwhile the fox-cub

assumed the shape of a little boy, and the puppy that of a little

girl,--two beautiful little creatures who danced and went through all

sorts of antics, much to the amusement of the ogre. The ogre was,

however, suspicious as to how they had come into the house, and whence

they had come, for the doors were not open. So he determined just to

divert himself awhile by watching their frolics, and then to kill them.

Meanwhile the rat had nibbled a hole in the box. Then getting into it,

he rescued the charm, and went out again through the passage in the

ground. The little boy and girl disappeared too; how, the ogre could not

tell. He made to pursue them through the door, when he saw them fleeing.

But on second thoughts he came to the conclusion that, having once been

taken in by a fox, there was no use in further endeavours. So he did not

follow the three animals as they fled away.

They returned to the village; the puppy and the fox-cub to their

master's house, the rat to its own place. The puppy and the fox-cub took

home with them the charm, and placed it by their master's pillow,

playing about near him, and pulling his clothes a little with their

teeth. At length he lifted his head and saw the charm. Then he

worshipped it with great joy and gratitude. Afterwards the fox-cub and

the puppy caused him to see in a dream how the charm had been recovered

through the rat's assistance. So he worshipped the rat also.

For this reason the Ainos do not think so very badly of the rat after

all. The fox, too, though often pursued by dogs, will sometimes make

friends with them; and even when a dog is pursuing a fox, it will not

bite the latter if it turns its face towards the pursuer.--(Written down

from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 21st November, 1886.)