From The Archive-Fox Tales: Twin Stories from Romania(Episode 147)
Welcome to the Fox Tales series. The two stories in the episode are about the proud fox learning a lesson that he should not be boastful.
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The first story is: The Seven-Witted Fox and the One-Witted Owl
One day an owl met a fox, and the fox bragged about his intelligence and cleverness, and said proudly, “ I am very witty, probably the wittiest living being!”
The owl asked him, "Brother, brother! How many wits have you?"
"Seven," he said, boastingly.
"No wonder you are so clever. I have only one," said the owl sadly.
The fox raised his tail and walked away proudly.
A short time afterwards the owl again met the fox, but this time he was running for his life.
Children who do you think was behind the fox?
You may be right , Let’s see!
The hunters were after the fox, and the hound dogs were trying to catch him. Running as fast as his legs could carry him, he at last managed to slip into a hole.
The owl followed him, and seeing him there exhausted, asked him teasingly, "Couldn’t you any of your wits? Didn’t you say you have 7 wits!”
The fox replied, "Six. I have 6 wits, I lost one in the chase."
Meanwhile, the hunters and dogs came nearer and nearer, so they could hear the barking of the dogs. The fox did not know what to do. He was indeed very nervous.
The owl teasingly asked him, "How many wits have you now, old fellow?"
"Oh, I have lost all my wits, I have none left."
"Where is your cleverness of which you bragged so much ?"
"It is not kind of you, now, to tease a poor fellow when the dogs are at his heels, and there is no escape for him."
"Well," said the owl, "I have one wit, and I will see whether I can save you with that.”
Children, put on your thinking caps and think of a way that the owl will help the fox.
Then the owl added confidently, “It is my turn. I will lie down here at the entrance of this hole as though dead. When the hunters come, they will look at me get hold of me and probably discuss me. Meanwhile, they will forget you, and in the midst of all this confusion you just dash out and run for your life."
It happened just as the owl had said.
As soon as the hunters came up to the hole, they found the owl lying dead, I mean just acting dead, one of them said, "What is this ugly bird doing here? And a dead one too!
The second hunter added, “ Let’s kick him out of our way!”
“That’s right!” added the first hunter.
And while they were busy discussing what to do with the owl, and trying to get hold of it to throw it away, off went the fox through them and escaped.
Soon afterwards the owl met him again, and said, "How have your seven wits helped you when in time of danger? It is like that with people who have too much. They often have nothing when they want it the most. But you see, I had only one wit but a strong one and not a useless one like yours, and that saved not just me but you too.
So children, did that build your appetite for another story?
The next story is: The Fox and His Bagful of Wits and the One-Witted Hedgehog
One day somehow, a fox got into a poultry yard,
Children, do you know what kind of animals are there at a poultry farm?
Yes, the poultry farm has hens, turkeys, geese, ducks, etc.
So, after entering the farm, the fox ate to his heart’s content.
A few days later, the fox met a hedgehog who was going towards the poultry yard,
"Where are you going, brother?" asked the fox.
"I am famished and want to get something to eat, but it’s tricky to enter the poultry farm. So, I am trying to find the best way to enter,” answered the hungry hedgehog.
"Oh," said the proud fox, "You just come with me, and I will show you. You know I am smart as I have a bag full of wits. I know my way, and there is plenty of poultry for you, and me and some to leave behind for another time."
The hedgehog, who was a wise old fellow himself, said to the fox, "A bag full of wits! That’s great I only have one wit. But let’s be careful. Now, be careful. Are you sure that the owners of the poultry yard will let you in again so easily?"
"Don't you worry," said the fox. "I know my business. Do not forget I have a bagful of wits. You just come with me,” said the fox leading the way.
And the hedgehog followed him.
But the people of the poultry farm were not such fools as the fox had taken them for.
Children, what do you think the people of the poultry farm did?
Ummm,. Let’s listen ahead
And just where the fox had gotten in last time the people of the poultry farm had dug a deep pit, and into that the fox and the hedgehog tumbled.
When they found themselves at the bottom of the pit, the hedgehog turned to the fox and said, "Well, you clever fellow, with a bagful of wits, is that the proper way to get into the poultry yard? Did I not warn you?"
"What is the good of arguing ?" replied the fox. "We are here now, and we must see how to get out of it."
Children, do you think the Fox will be able to get out, taking the help office bag full of wits.
"But you are so clever, and I am only a poor old fool, why don’t you suggest Mr Fox?” said one very annoyed hedgehog.
"Why don’t you use one wit that you have and help us both get out of this deep pit?” said the fox angrily.
The two started quarrelling.
Finally, the hedgehog said, “I cannot help you. This sudden fall has upset me, and I feel uncomfortable and very sick."
"What," cried the fox. "You are not going to be sick here. That is more than I can stand. Out you go!"
So he got hold of the hedgehog by the snout, and the hedgehog coiled himself up with his little paws into a little ball around the fox's mouth. The fox lifted up his head with a jerk and threw the little fellow out of the pit.
Children, what do you think will happen now in the story?
As soon as the hedgehog saw himself safely out of the pit, the little hedgehog, bending over the mouth of the pit, said chuckling to the fox, "Where is your wisdom, you fool? You boast that you have a bagful of wits, but it is I who got myself out of the pit, though I have only a little wit."
"Oh," said the fox, whining, "do have pity on me! You are such a clever old fellow. Help me out of this pit too."
"Well, said the hedgehog, "I will help you. Now, you pretend to be dead, and when the people come and find you stiff and stark, they will say, 'The fox has died, and his carcass is rotting. It is going to make all the poultry farm stinky.” They will take you and throw you out. And then see wherever you land.
The fox did as the hedgehog had advised him, and when the people came and found him in that state, they hauled him out and threw him out of the farm onto the road. Quicker than you could clap your hands, the fox was on his legs, and he ran as if the ground was burning under him.
Since then the fox and the hedgehog have been good friends.