Bidpai: Three Stories about Foxes

This story is part of the Bidpai unit. Story source: The Tortoise and the Geese and Other Fables of Bidpai by Maude Barrows Dutton,  with illustrations by E. Boyd Smith, 1908.

The Fox, the Hen, and the Drum

A FOX, who was out in search of food, discovered a Hen scratching for worms at the foot of a tree. He hid himself in a bush near by and was about to spring out and seize her when a strange tapping sound fell upon his ears, for in that same tree there was a Drum, and when the wind blew, the branches beat against it.

Now the Fox was exceedingly hungry, and reasoned thus: "A noise as loud as that must be made by a fowl much larger than this Hen. I will, therefore, let her go and will bring down that larger bird for my supper."

Without further thought, he rushed out of the bush with a noise that put the Hen to flight and, after many vain efforts, scrambled up the tree. High among the leaves he found the Drum, and fell upon it tooth and claw. He soon had it open, only to see that it was filled with nothing more or less than empty air.

The Fox hung his tail. "What a stupid wretch I am!" he groaned. "Because of my own greediness, I must now go supperless to bed."

The Fox and the Piece of Meat

A HUNGRY fox, who had come out of his hole to hunt, found a piece of fresh meat. As he had not tasted food for several days, he seized it and started home on a trot.

On the way, he passed by a hen-yard. At the sight of the four fat fowls who were scratching for worms, the Fox's mouth watered. He set down the piece of meat and gazed longingly at the hens.

Just then a Jackal passed by. "Friend Fox," he said, "you seem perplexed. Tell me your trouble, and it may be that I can help you."

"Friend Jackal, you are right," replied the Fox. "I am perplexed. I have here a piece of meat which I am carrying to my hole, but I should like one of these fowls for my second course."

"Take my advice," responded the Jackal, "and let these hens alone. I have long had my eye upon them, but they are watched by a boy named Zirak, and you cannot possibly catch them without being seen. You should be more than content with that fine piece of meat which you are carrying home." And the Jackal went on his way.

Nevertheless, the Fox could not make up his mind to give up the fowls. Finally, he laid down his piece of meat and crept cautiously into the yard. He was just nearing the tail-feathers of the plumpest fowl, when Zirak hurled a stick at his head.

Fearing for his life, the Fox sprang over the fence and rushed back to the spot where he had left his piece of meat. But a few moments before, a Kite had passed that way, smelled the meat, and carried it to her nest.

The Hunter, the Fox, and the Leopard

A HUNTER once came upon a Fox which had such a beautiful skin that the Hunter was eager to capture him. With this intent, he sought out the Fox's hole and dug a deep pit before the entrance. He covered the pit over carefully with twigs and straw and placed a tempting piece of meat on top. He then withdrew into the woods to await the return of the Fox.

It was not many hours before the Fox stole home. He scented the meat from afar, but when he saw that it was lying on a pile of loose twigs, he feared some snare. So he gave it only one sniff and then trotted off to seek new lodgings for himself

A moment later, a Leopard came down the mountain-side, and he too smelled the meat. He was not as wary as the Fox, but sprang upon the meat without once looking to see where it was lying.

The Hunter, in the woods, heard the crash as the Leopard tumbled headlong into the pit. Feeling sure that he had captured the Fox, he ran quickly and jumped in after him. In an instant the Leopard sprang upon him and killed him, exactly as he had planned to kill the Fox.

(700 words)

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