Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Cock and the Fox

Once upon a time, a cock stood on a dungheap and crowed and flapped its wings. Then the fox came up to him.

“Good day,” said the fox. “I did hear you crow,” he said, “but can you stand on one leg and crow and blink, like your father did?” said Mikkel.

“I can, both good and well,” said the cock, and he stood on one leg, but he winked only with one eye, and when he had done it, then he preened himself and flapped his wings, as if he had done something great.

“That was beautiful,” said the fox. “It was almost as beautiful as when the parson holds mass in church. But can you also stand on one leg and crow and blink with both eyes at the same time? I feel quite sure that you can,” said Mikkel. “Your father, well, he was a real man,” he said.

“Oh, I can do it just as well,” said the cock; and he stood on one leg and blinked with both eyes, and crowed.

In a flash, the fox jumped on him, took him by the neck, and threw him across his back, so he could not cry out; and then ran off into the woods with him, as fast as Mikkel managed to run.

When they were under an old bare spruce, Mikkel threw the cock to the ground, placed his foot on his breast, and desired to take a bite.

“You are not as god-fearing as your father,” said the cock. “He crossed himself and prayed for his food,” he said.

Well, Mikkel did want to be god-fearing—goodness! So he released his hold and moved to lay his paws in a cross and read. Just like that, the cock flew into a tree.

“You won't get away,” said Mikkel to himself. Then he went away, and came back with a couple of loose parchments left behind by some woodcutters. The cock looked and looked at what it might be.

“What do you have there?” he said.

“It's a letter I have received from the Pope in Rome,” said the fox; “won't you help me read it, for I am not so scholarly, myself.”

“I would very much like to, but I don't dare, now,” said the cock. “There comes a shooter; I'll sit behind the treetrunk. I see him, I see him!” he said.

When the fox heard the cock crowing about the shooter, he sprang off in the most convenient direction. On that occasion, it was the cock who outwitted the fox.

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