"I have got something tasty as well," said the fox.
"What's that?" said the bear.
"It's the biggest bees' nest I ever found," said Reynard.
"Ah, indeed," said the bear, grinning, and his mouth began to water, he thought a little honey would be so nice. "Shall we change victuals?"
"No, I won't do that," said Reynard. But they made a wager about naming three kinds of trees. If the fox could say them quicker than the bear he was to have one bite at the pig; but if the bear could say them quicker he was to have one suck at the bee's nest. The bear thought he would be able to suck all the honey up at one gulp.
"Well said the fox, "that's all well and good but if I win you must promise to tear off the bristles where I want to have a bite," he said.
"Well, I suppose I must, since you are too lazy yourself," said the bear.
Then they began to name the trees.
"Spruce, fir, pine," growled the bear. His voice was very gruff. But all these were only different names of one kind of tree.
"Ash, aspen, oak," screeched the fox, so that the forest resounded. He had thus won the bet, and so he jumped down, took the heart out of the pig at one bite, and tried to run off. But the bear was angry, because he had taken the best bit of the whole pig, and seized hold of him by his tail and held him fast.
"Just wait a bit," said the bear, who was furious.
"Never mind, grandfather; if you'll let me go you shall have a taste of my honey," said the fox.
When the bear heard this he let go his hold and the fox jumped up on the stone after the honey.
"Over this nest," said Reynard, "I'll put a leaf, and in the leaf there is a hole, through which you can suck the honey." He then put the nest right up under the bear's nose, pulled away the leaf, jumped on to the stone, and began grinning and laughing; for there was neither honey nor honeycomb in the nest. It was a wasp's nest as big as a man's head, full of wasps, and out they swarmed and stung the bear in his eyes and ears and on his mouth and snout. He had so much to do with scratching them off him that he had no the to think of Reynard.
Ever since the bear has been afraid of wasps.
Once the fox and the bear made up their minds to have a field in common. They found a small clearing far away in the forest, where they sowed rye the first year.
"Now we must share and share alike," said Reynard; "if you will have the roots I will have the tops," he said.
Yes, Bruin was quite willing; but when they had thrashed the crop the fox got all the corn, while the bear got nothing but the roots and tares.
Bruin didn't like this, but the fox said it was only as they had agreed.
"This year I am the gainer," said the fox; "another year it will be your turn; you can then have the tops and I will be satisfied with the roots."
Next spring the fox asked the bear if he didn't think turnips would be the right thing for that year.
"Yes, that's better food than corn," said the bear; and the fox thought the same.
When the autumn came the fox took the turnips, but the bear only got the tops.
The bear then became so angry that he parted company then and there with Reynard.
One day the bear was lying eating a horse which he had killed. Reynard was about again and came slinking along, his mouth watering for a tasty bit of the horseflesh.
He sneaked in and out and round about till he came up behind the bear, when he made a spring to the other side of the carcass, snatching a piece as he jumped across.
The bear was not slow either; he made a dash after Reynard and caught the tip of his red tail in his paw. Since that time the fox has always had a white tip to his tail.
"Wait a bit Reynard, and come here," said the bear, "and I'll teach you how to catch horses."
Yes, Reynard was quite willing to learn that, but he didn't trust himself too near the bear.
"When you see a horse lying asleep in a sunny place," said the bear, "you must tie yourself fast with the hair of his tail to your brush, and then fasten your teeth in his thigh," he said.
Before long the fox found a horse lying asleep on a sunny hillside; and so he did as the bear had told him; he knotted and tied himself well to the horse with the hair of the tail and then fastened his teeth into his thigh.
Up jumped the horse and began to kick and gallop so that Reynard was dashed against stock and stone, and was so bruised and battered that he nearly lost his senses.
All at once a hare rushed by. "Where are you off to in such a hurry, Reynard?" said the hare.
"I'm having a ride, Bunny!" said the fox.
The hare sat up on his hind legs and laughed till the sides of his mouth split right up to his ears, at the thought of Reynard having such a grand ride; but since then the fox has never thought of catching horses again.
That time it was Bruin who for once had the better of Reynard; otherwise they say the bear is as simple-minded as the trolls.
THE LAD WHO WENT TO THE NORTH WIND
By Sir George Webbe Dasent
Once upon a time there was an old widow who had one son, and she was poorly and weak, her son had to go up into the safe to fetch meal for cooking; but when he got outside the safe, and was just going down the steps, there came the North Wind, puffing and blowing, caught up the meal, and so away with it through the air. Then the lad went back into the safe for more; but when he came out again on the steps, if the North Wind didn't come again and carry off the meal with a puff; and more than that, he did so the third time. At this the lad got very angry; and as he thought it hard that the North Wind should behave so, he thought he'd just look him up and ask him to give up his meal.
So off he went, but the way was long, and he walked and walked; but at last he came to the North Wind's house.
"Good day!" said the lad, and "thank you for coming to see us yesterday."
"GOOD DAY!" answered the North Wind, for his voice was loud and gruff, "AND THANKS FOR COMING TO SEE ME. WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
"Oh!" answered the lad, "I only wished to ask you to be so good as to let me have back that meal you took from me on the safe steps, for we haven't much to live on; and if you're to go on snapping up the morsel we have there'll be nothing for it but to starve."
"I haven't got your meal," said the North Wind; "but if you are in such need, I'll give you a cloth which will get you everything you want, if you only say, 'Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes!'"
With this the lad was well content. But, as the way was so long he couldn't get home in one day, he stopped at an inn on the way; and when they were going to sit down to supper, he laid the cloth on a table which stood in the corner and said:
"Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes."
He had scarce said so before the cloth did as it was bid; and all who stood by thought it a fine thing, but most of all the landlady. So, when all were fast asleep, at dead of night, she took the lad's cloth, and put another in its stead, just like the one he had got from the North Wind, but which couldn't so much as serve up a bit of dry bread.