Monday, 9 January 2017

The Widow Fox

Once upon a time, there was a Fox and a Mrs Fox who lived deep in the forest in a fox den. They were friends, and got along well, and lived as well together as a couple can. But there was a day when the fox had been to the farmer’s hen house, and there he ate up everything, and I suppose it was too much for him. Then he got sick and died; and no matter how Mrs Fox mourned and wept, he was dead and remained dead.

But when he had been put into the ground, and his wake was well past, then suitors began to come to the widow. One Saturday there were three knocks at the door of the fox den. “Oh, do go out and see what it is, Korse,” said the widow Fox; she had a molly as her maid, and her name was Korse. When the girl came out, there stood a bear on the threshold.

“Good evening,” greeted the bear.

“Good evening yourself,” said Korse.

“Is the widow Fox home this evening?” he asked.

“She sits inside,” replied the girl.

“What is she doing this evening? Is it ill, or is it pleasing?” the bear asked.

“She grieves for her husband, dead; and weeps her nose both sore and red. She knows not what to do,” said the molly.

“Ask her out to go, some good advice for her to know,” said the bear.

When the molly came in, her mistress asked:

"Who is it whose knocking will not cease, who robs me of my evening peace?"

“It is your suitors,” replied the molly; “I should ask you out to go, some good advice for you to know.”

“What manner of coat does he wear?” asked the widow Fox.

“A beautiful bear,” said the girl, “a big fellow and a sight,” she said.

“Let him go, let him go; his advice I need not know.”

Korse went and opened the door a crack, and said:

“She asks that home you go; your advice she will not know.”

So there was nothing for it but that the bear had to turn around and leave in the direction he came from.

Next Saturday evening, there came another knock on the door. This time, a wolf stood without.

“Good evening,” said the wolf. “Is the widow Fox home?”

Yes, that she was.

“What is she doing this evening? Is it ill, or is it pleasing?” he asked.

“Oh, she knows not what to do. She weeps her nose both sore and red, from grieving for her husband, dead.”

“Ask her out to go, some good advice for her to know,” said the greyshanks.

"Who is it whose knocking will not cease, and robs me of my evening peace?" asked the widow Fox.

“Oh, it is suitors, I know,” said the molly. “I should ask you out to go, some good advice for you to know.”

No. First, the widow Fox would know what manner of coat he wore.

“A grey so fine; long body and scant design.” replied Korse.

“Let him go, let him go; his advice I need not know,” said the widow; and as greyshanks did not get in, he had to turn aside, he too.

The third Saturday went the same way. There were three knocks at the door, and the molly went out to see who it was. And it was a hare.

“Good evening,” he said.

“Good evening yourself,” she replied. “Are stranger-folk out wandering so late in the evening?” she said.

Well, yes, they were; and then he asked also if the widow Fox was home, and what she was doing.

“She is weeping her nose both sore and red, while grieving for her husband, dead.”

“Ask her out to go, some good advice for her to know,” said the hare.

"Who is it whose knocking will not cease, and robs me of my evening peace?" asked the mistress to Korse.

“It is surely suitors, mother,” replied the girl.

So she wanted to know what manner of coat he wore this time, too.

“Fine, beautiful, white; densest worsted, woven tight,” said the molly. It could not get any better, now.

“Let him go, let him go; his advice I need not know,” replied the widow Fox.

Then came the fourth Saturday evening. Just like that, there were three knocks on the door of the fox’s house again.

“Go out and see what is going on now,” said the widow to the housemaid. When the molly came out, there stood a fox on the threshold.

“Good evening, and thank you for last time,” said the fox.

“Thank you for last time,” replied the girl.

“Is the widow Fox home?” he asked.

“Yes, she is grieving for her husband, dead; and weeps her nose both sore and red,” said the girl. “She knows not what to do, the poor thing.”

“Just ask her out to go, some good advice for her to know,” said the fox.

Then Korse went in.

"Who is it whose knocking will not cease, and robs me of my evening peace?" asked the mistress.

“Oh, you know by now,” replied the molly; “it is your suitors, it is. I should ask you out to go, some good advice for you to know.”

“What manner of jacket?” asked the widow fox.

“A fine beautiful red—just like his who’s dead,” replied the molly.

“Dear, ask him in to see; his advice is good for me,” said the widow.

“Bring me here my socks so small;
With him I’d like to go, withal.
Bring my buttoned shoes to me;
With him I’ll ramble in the free.”

This he would, too; and directly there was a feast and a wedding at the widow Fox’s. And if he hasn’t been in the hen house, too, then yet they live in the fox den, even today.

The Widow Fox, T. Kittelsen.

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