The wolf held the
red fox in
Whatsoever the wolf wished, the red fox
was compelled to do, for he was the weaker. He would gladly have been rid of
chanced that once as they were going through ,the
forest, the wolf said, "Red fox, get me
something to eat, or else I
will eat thee thyself."
Then the red fox answered, "I know a farm-yard where there are two
young lambs; if thou art inclined, we will fetch one of them."
suited the wolf, and they went thither, and the red fox stole the little lamb,
took it to the wolf, and went away. The wolf devoured it, but was not satisfied
with one; he wanted the other as well, and went to get it. As, however, he did
it so awkwardly, the mother of the little lamb heard him, and began to cry out
terribly, and to bleat so that the farmer came running there. They found the
wolf, and beat him so mercilessly, that he went to the red fox limping and
"Thou hast misled me finely," said he; "I wanted to fetch the
other lamb, and the country folks surprised me, and have beaten me to a jelly."
The red fox replied, "Why art thou such a glutton ?"
they again went into the country, and the greedy wolf once more said, "Red fox,
get me something to eat, or
I will eat thee thyself."
Then answered the red fox, "I know a farm house where the whole is
baking pancakes tonight; we will get some of them for ourselves."
went there, and the red fox slipped round the house, and peeped and sniffed
about until he discovered
where the dish was, and then drew down six pancakes and carried them to the
"There is something for thee to
eat," said he to him, and
then went his way.
The wolf swallowed down the pancakes in an instant,
and said, "They make me want more," and went thither and tore the
whole dish down so that it broke
in pieces. This made such a great noise that the woman came out, and, when she
saw the wolf, she called the farmers, who hurried there, and beat him as long
as their sticks would hold together, till with two lame legs, and howling
loudly, he got back to the red fox in the forest.
"How abominably thou hast
misled me!" cried he, "the farmers caught me, and tanned my skin for
But the red fox replied, "Why art thou such a glutton?"
the third day, when they were out together, and the wolf could only limp along
painfully, he again said, "Red fox, get me something to eat, or I will eat thee
The red fox answered, "I know a man who has been killing, and
the salted meat is lying in a barrel in the cellar; we will get that."
Said the wolf, "I will go when thou dost, that thou mayest help me if I
am not able to get away."
"I am willing," said the red fox, and showed
him the by paths and ways by which at length they reached the cellar. There was
meat in abundance, and the wolf attacked it instantly and thought, "There is
plenty of time before I need leave off!" The red fox liked it also, but looked
about everywhere, and often ran to the hole by which they had come in, and
checked that his body was still thin enough to slip through it.
wolf said, "Dear red fox, tell me why thou art running here and there so much
and jumping in and out ?"
"I must see that no one is coming," replied
the crafty fellow. "Don't eat too much!"
said the wolf, "I shall not leave until the barrel is empty." In the meantime
the farmer, who had heard the noise of the red fox's jumping, came into the
cellar. When the red fox saw him he was out of the hole at one bound. The wolf
wanted to follow him, but he had made himself so
fat with eating that he could no longer
get through, but stuck fast. Then came the farmer with a cudgel and struck him
dead, but the red fox bounded into the forest, glad to be rid of
the old glutton.
Once upon a time on the banks of a great river in the north
of Germany lay a town called Hamelin. The citizens of Hamelin were honest folk
who lived contentedly in their Grey stone houses. The years went by, and the
town grew very rich.
Then one day, an extraordinary thing happened to
disturb the peace.
Pope Gregory IX, known for issuing the
Decretales and instituting the Papal Inquisition, also issued
Vox in Rama a papal bull issued condemning cats as an incarnation of
Satan. In the papal bull the cat is addressed as "master" and the incarnate
devil is half-man half-feline in nature. Vox in Rama was a death warrant
for cats, which were slaughtered without mercy until the Black Death descended
and depopulated Europe.
Hamelin had always had rats, and a lot too. But they had never been a danger,
for the cats had always solved the rat problem in the usual way - by killing
and eating them. Now, with no cats, the rats began to multiply.
end, a black sea of rats swarmed over the whole town. First, they attacked the
barns and storehouses, then, for lack of anything better, they gnawed the wood,
cloth and even gnawed the wooden alms box ! The one thing they didn't eat was
the metal coin in the alms box.
The terrified citizens flocked to plead
with the town councilors to free them from the plague of rats. The council
reluctuntly gathered for they knew that should they speak out against the papal
bull they to might end up in the Inquisitor's chambers.
meekest among them finally whispered.
"What we need is an army of
But all the cats were dead.
"We'll put down poisoned
food then . . ."
But the rats had eaten the food and there was no
food to poison.
"It just can't be done without divine intervention!" noted the Mayor sadly.
Just then, while the citizens milled around outside, there was a loud
knock at the door. "Who can that be?" the city fathers wondered uneasily,
mindful of the angry crowds. They gingerly opened the door. And to their
surprise, there stood a tall thin man dressed in clothes sporting the colors of
the rainbow, with a long feather in his hat, and waving
a wooden flute at
"I've freed other towns of beetles and bats," the stranger
announced, "and for a thousand florins, I'll rid you of your rats!"
thousand florins!" exclaimed the Mayor. "We'll give you fifty thousand if you
succeed!" At once the stranger hurried away, saying:
"It's late now,
but at dawn tomorrow, there won't be a rat left in Hamelin!"
was still below the horizon, when the sound of a pipe wafted through the
streets of Hamelin. The pied piper slowly made his way through the houses and
behind him flocked the rats. Out they scampered from doors, windows and
gutters, rats of every size, all after the piper. And as he played, the
stranger marched down to the river and straight into the water, up to his
middle. Behind him swarmed the rats and everyone was drowned and swept away by
By the time the sun was high in the sky, there was not a
single rat in the town. There was even greater delight at the town hall, until
the piper tried to claim his payment.
"Fifty thousand florins?"
exclaimed the councilors,
" A thousand florins
at least!" cried the pied piper angrily. But the Mayor broke in. "The rats are
all dead now and they can never come back. So be grateful for fifty florins, or
you'll not get even that . . ."
His eyes flashing with rage,
the pied piper
pointed a threatening finger at the Mayor.
"You'll bitterly regret
ever breaking your promise," he said, and vanished. A shiver of fear ran
through the councilors, but the Mayor shrugged and said excitedly: "We've saved
fifty thousand florins!"
That night, freed from the nightmare of the
rats, the citizens of Hamelin slept more soundly than ever. And when the
strange sound of piping wafted through the streets at dawn, only the children
heard it. Drawn as by magic, they hurried out of their homes. Again, the pied
piper paced through the town, this time, it was children of all sizes that
flocked at his heels to
the sound of his
The long procession soon left the town and made
its way through the wood and across the forest till it reached the foot of a
huge mountain. When the piper came to the dark rock, he played his pipe even
louder still and a great door creaked open. Beyond lay a cave. In trooped the
children behind the pied piper, and when the last child had gone into the
darkness, the door creaked shut.
A great landslide came down the
mountain blocking the entrance to the cave forever. Only one little lame boy
escaped this fate. It was he who told the anxious citizens, searching for their
children, what had happened. And no matter what people did,
the mountain never gave up its
Many years were to pass before the merry voices of other
children would ring through the streets of Hamelin but the memory of the harsh
lesson lingered in everyone's heart and was passed down from father to son
through the centuries.
- attributed to the Brothers Grimm, German
storytellers and moralists
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