ONE day the fox succeeded in catching a fine fat goose
asleep by the side of a loch; he held her by the wing, and making a joke
of her cackling, hissing, and fears, he said—
"Now, if you had me in your mouth as I have you,
tell me what you would do?"
"Why," said the goose, "that is an easy question. I
would fold my hands, shut my eyes, say a grace, and then eat you."
"Just what I mean to do," said Rory; and folding his
hands, and looking very demure, he said a pious grace with his eyes shut.
But while he did this the goose had spread her
wings, and she was now half way over the loch; so the fox was left to lick
his lips for supper.
"I will make a rule of this," he said in disgust,
"never in all my life to say a grace again till after I feel the meat warm
in my belly."
THE FOX TROUBLED WITH FLEAS
THE fox is much troubled by fleas, and this is the
way in which he gets rid of them. He hunts about till he finds a lock of
wool, and then he takes it to the river, and holds it in his mouth, and so
puts the end of his brush into the water, and down he goes slowly. The
fleas run away from the water, and at last they all run over the fox’s
nose into the wool, and then the fox dips his nose under and lets the wool
go off with the stream.
THE FOX AND THE BAG-PIPES
THE fox, being
hungry one day, found a bag-pipe, and proceeded to eat the bag, which is
generally, or was till lately, made of hide.
There was still a remnant of breath in the bag, and when the fox bit it
the drone gave a groan, when the fox, surprised but not frightened, said—
"Here is meat and music!"
THE FOX’S STRATAGEM
THE fox is very wise indeed. I don’t know whether it
is true or not, but an old fellow told me that he had seen him go to a
loch where there were wild ducks, and take a bunch of heather in his
mouth, then go into the water, and swim down with the wind till he got
into the middle of the ducks, and then he let go the heather and killed
two of them.
THE FOX AND THE WRENS
A FOX had noticed for some days a
family of wrens, off which he wished to dine. He might have been satisfied
with one, but he was determined to have the whole lot— father and eighteen
sons,—and all so like that he could not tell one from the other, or the
father from the children.
"It is no use to kill one son," he
said to himself, "because the old cock will take warning and fly away with
the seventeen. I wish I knew which is the old gentleman."
He set his wits to work to find out,
and one day, seeing them all threshing in a barn, he sat down to watch
them; still he could not be sure.
"Now I have it," he said; "well done
the old man’s stroke! He hits true," he cried.
"Oh!" replied the one he suspected
of being the head of the family; "if you had seen my grandfather’s strokes
you might have said that."
The sly fox pounced on the cock, ate
him up in a trice, and then soon caught and disposed of the eighteen sons,
all flying in terror about the barn.
THE FOX AND THE COCK
A FOX one day met a cock, and they
"How many tricks canst thou do?"
said the fox.
"Well," said the cock, "I could do
three; how many canst thou do thyself?"
"I could do three score and
thirteen," said the fox.
"What tricks canst thou do?" said
"Well," said the fox, "my grandfather used to shut
one eye and give a great shout."
"I could do that myself," said the cock.
"Do it," said the fox. And the cock shut one eye and
crowed as loud as ever he could, but he shut the eye that was next the
fox, and the fox gripped him by the neck and ran away with him. But the
wife to whom the cock belonged saw him and cried out, "Let go the cock;
"Say thou, SE MO CHOILEACH FHEIN A TH’ ANN" (it is
my own cock), said the cock to the fox.
Then the fox opened his mouth to say as the cock
did, and he dropped the cock, and he sprung up on the top of a house, and
shut one eye and gave a loud crow; and that’s all there is of that
HOW THE WOLF LOST HIS TAIL
ONE day the wolf and the fox were out together, and
they stole a dish of crowdie. Now the wolf was the biggest beast of the
two, and he had a long tail like a greyhound, and great teeth.
The fox was afraid of him, and did not dare to say a
word when the wolf ate the most of the crowdie, and left only a little at
the bottom of the dish for him, but he determined to punish him for it; so
the next night when they were out together the fox said—
"I smell a very nice cheese, and" (pointing to the
moonshine on the ice) "there it is too."
"And how will you get it?" said the wolf. "Well,
stop you here till I see if the farmer is asleep, and if you keep your
tail on it, nobody will see you or know that it is there. Keep it steady.
I may be some time coming back."
So the wolf lay down and laid his tail on the
moonshine in the ice, and kept it for an hour till it was fast. Then the
fox, who had been watching him, ran in to the farmer and said: "The wolf
is there; he will eat up the children, —the wolf! the wolf!"
Then the farmer and his wife came out with sticks to
kill the wolf, but the wolf ran off leaving his tail behind him, and
that’s why the wolf is stumpy-tailed to this day, though the fox has a
THE TWO FOXES
A MAN was one day walking along the
road with a creel of herrings on his back, and two foxes saw him, and the
one, who was the biggest, said to the other, "Stop thou here, and follow
the man, and I will run round and pretend that I am dead." So he ran
round, and stretched himself on the road. The man came on, and when he saw
the fox, he was well pleased to find so fine a beast, and he picked him
up, and threw him into the creel, and he walked on. But the fox threw the
herrings out of the creel, and the other followed and picked them up; and
when the creel was empty, the big fox leaped out and ran away, and that is
how they got the herrings.
Well, they went on together till
they came to a smith’s house, and there was a horse tied at the door, and
he had a golden shoe, and there was a name on it.
"I will go and read what is written
on that shoe," said the big fox, and he went; but the horse lifted his
foot, and struck a kick on him, and drove his brains out.
"Lad, lad," said the little fox, "no
scholar me, nor wish I to be;" and, of course, he got the herrings.
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