The Wedding of Mrs. Fox
|here was once upon a time a fox with nine tails, who thought his wife was not faithful to him, and determined to put it to the proof.|
So he stretched himself along under a bench, and keeping his legs perfectly still, he appeared as if quite dead. Mrs. Fox, meanwhile, had ascended to her room, and shut herself in; and her maid, the young Cat, stood near the hearth cooling.
As soon as it was known that Mr. Fox was dead, several suitors came to pay their respects to his widow. The maid, hearing someone knocking at the front door, went and looked out, and saw a young Fox, who asked:
"How do you do Miss Kitten?" "Is she asleep or awake?"
The maid replied --
"I neither sleep nor wake; would you know my business? Beer and butter both I make; come and be my guest."
"I am obliged, Miss Kitten," said the young fox; "but how is Mrs. Fox?"
"She sits in her chamber, weeping so sore; her eyes red with crying -- Mr. Fox is no more."
"Tell her, then, my maiden, that a young fox is here, who wishes to marry her," said he. So the cat went pit-pat, pit-a-pat up the stairs, and tapped gently at the door, saying, "Are you there, Madam Fox?"
"Yes, my good little Cat," was the reply.
"There is a suitor below."
"What does he look like?" asked her mistress. "Has he nine beautiful tails as my late husband?"
"Oh, no,"answered the maid, "he has only one."
"Then I will not have him," said the mistress.
The young Cat went down and sent away the suitor; and soon after there came a knock at the door from another fox, with two tails, who wished to marry the widow; he fared, however, no better that the former one.
Afterwards came six more, one after the other, each having one tail more than he who preceded him; but these were all turned away.
At last there arrived a fox with nine tails, like the deceased husband; and when the widow heard of it, she said, full of joy, to the Cat, "Now you may open all the windows and doors, and throw the old fox out of the house."
But just as the wedding was about to be celebrated, the old fox roused himself from his sleep beneath the bench, and drubbed the whole tumultuous crowd, together with his wife, out of the house, and hunted them far away.