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wolf and red fox

wolf and red fox

The wolf held the red fox in slavery. Whatsoever the wolf wished, the red fox was compelled to do, for he was the weaker. He would gladly have been rid of his master.

It 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."

That 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 howling.

"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 ?"

Next day 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."

They 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 wolf.

"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 me."

But the red fox replied, "Why art thou such a glutton?"

On 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 thyself."

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.

The 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!"

Then 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.



pied piper


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.


cats hunted down rat population explodes  black death descends  on 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.

In the 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.

Eventually the meekest among them finally whispered.

"What we need is an army of cats!"

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.

To their surprise, there stood a tall thin man dressed in clothes sporting the colors of the rainbow, with a long peacock feather in his hat, waving a wooden flute.

"I've freed other towns of beetles and bats," the stranger announced, "and for a thousand florins, I'll rid you of your rats!"

"A 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!"

The sun 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 the current.

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,

Never…"

" 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 strange piping.

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 victims.

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

rainbow feather of the pied piper
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