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Main > Arabic folktales > Fairy tale "The Fox and the Wolf"

The Fox and the Wolf

Verily I regard this breach as a snare; and it hath been said, ‘Caution is the half of cleverness.’ Caution requireth me to examine this breach, and to see if I can find there anything that may lead to perdition. Covetousness doth not induce me to throw myself into destruction.” He then approached it, and, going round about examining it warily, beheld it; and lo! there was a deep pit, which the owner of the vineyard had dug to catch in it the wild beasts that despoiled the vines; and he observed over it a slight covering. So he drew back from it, and said, “Praise be to God that I regarded it with caution! I hope that my enemy, the wolf, who hath made my life miserable, may fall into it, so that I alone may enjoy absolute power over the vineyard, and live in it securely.” Then, shaking his head, and uttering a loud laugh, he merrily sang these verses—

“Would that I beheld at the present moment in this well a wolf, Who hath long afflicted my heart, and made me drink bitterness perforce! Would that my life might be spared, and that the wolf might meet his death! Then the vineyard would be free from his presence, and I should find in it my spoil.”

Having finished his song, he hurried away until he came to the wolf, when he said to him, “Verily God hath smoothed for thee the way to the vineyard without fatigue. This hath happened through thy good fortune. Mayest thou enjoy, therefore, that to which God hath granted thee access, in smoothing thy way to that plunder and that abundant sustenance without any difficulty!” So the wolf said to the fox, “What is the proof of that which thou hast declared?” The fox answered, “I went to the vineyard, and found that its owner had died; and I entered the garden, and beheld the fruits shining upon the trees.”

So the wolf doubted not the words of the fox, and in his eagerness he arose and went to the breach. His cupidity had deceived him with vain hopes, and the fox stopped and fell down behind him as one dead, applying this verse as a proverb suited to the case—

“Dost thou covet an interview with Leyla?

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