Select the desired text size
By R. NESBIT BAIN
From The Book of Stories for the Storyteller by Fanny E. Coe.
Press F5 to hear again
Start of Story
On the third day the old woman again drove her ox into the pastures to
graze, and sat down by a mound and dozed off. Then a fox came running
up. "Who are you?" it asked the ox.
"I'm a three-year-old heifer, stuffed with straw and daubed with tar."
"Then give me some of your tar to smear my sides with, when those dogs
and sons of dogs tear my hide!"
"Take some," said the ox. Then the fox fastened her teeth in him and
couldn't draw them out again. The old woman told her old man, and he
took and cast the fox into the cellar in the same way. And after that
they caught PussySwift the hare likewise.
So when he had got them all safely the old man sat down on a bench
before the cellar and began sharpening a knife. And the bear said to
"Tell me, daddy, what are you sharpening your knife for?"
"To flay your skin off, that I may make a leather jacket for myself
and a pelisse for my old woman."
"Oh! don't flay me, daddy dear! Rather let me go, and I'll bring you a
lot of honey."
"Very well, see you do it," and he unbound and let the bear go. Then
he sat down on the bench and again began sharpening his knife. And the
wolf asked him:
"Daddy, what are you sharpening your knife for?"
"To flay off your skin, that I may make me a warm cap against the
"Oh! Don't flay me, daddy dear, and I'll bring you a whole herd of
"Well, see that you do it," and he let the wolf go.
Then he sat down, and began sharpening his knife again. The fox put
out her little snout, and asked him:
"Be so kind, dear daddy, as to tell me why you are sharpening your
"Little foxes," said the old man, "have nice skins that do capitally
for collars and trimmings, and I want to skin you!"
"Oh! Don't take my skin away, daddy dear, and I will bring you hens
"Very well, see that you do it!" and he let the fox go.
The hare now alone remained, and the old man began sharpening his
knife on the hare's account.
"Why do you do that?" asked Puss, and he replied:
"Little hares have nice little, soft, warm skins, which will make me
nice gloves and mittens against the winter!"
"Oh! daddy dear! Don't flay me, and I'll bring you kale and good
cauliflower if only you let me go!"
Then he let the hare go also.
Then they went to bed: but very early in the morning, when it was
neither dusk nor dawn, there was a noise in the doorway like
"Daddy!" cried the old woman, "there's someone scratching at the door:
go and see who it is!"
The old man went out, and there was the bear carrying a whole hive
full of honey. The old man took the honey from the bear; but no sooner
did he lie down again than there was another _Durrrrr!_ at the door.
The old man looked out and saw the wolf driving a whole flock of sheep
into the courtyard. Close on his heels came the fox, driving before
him geese and hens, and all manner of fowls; and last of all came the
hare, bringing cabbage and kale, and all manner of good food.
And the old man was glad, and the old woman was glad. And the old man
sold the sheep and oxen, and got so rich that he needed nothing more.
As for the straw-stuffed ox, it stood in the sun till it fell to