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

The Fox and the Wolf

It is covetousness that causeth the loss of men’s heads.”

When the wolf came to the breach, the fox said to him, “Enter the vineyard; for thou art spared the trouble of breaking down the wall of the garden, and it remaineth for God to complete the benefit.” So the wolf walked forward, desiring to enter the vineyard, and when he came to the middle of the covering of the hole, he fell into it; whereupon the fox was violently excited by happiness and joy, his anxiety and grief ceased, and in merry tones he sang these verses—

“Fortune hath compassionated my case, and felt pity for the length of my torment, And granted me what I desired, and removed that which I dreaded. I will, therefore, forgive its offences committed in former times; Even the injustice it hath shown in the turning of my hair grey. There is no escape for the wolf from utter annihilation; And the vineyard is for me alone, and I have no stupid partner.”

He then looked into the pit, and beheld the wolf weeping in his repentance and sorrow for himself, and the fox wept with him. So the wolf raised his head towards him, and said, “Is it from thy compassion for me that thou hast wept, O Abu-l-Hoseyn?” “No,” answered the fox, “by him who cast thee into this pit; but I weep for the length of thy past life, and in my regret at thy not having fallen into this pit before the present day. Hadst thou fallen into it before I met with thee, I had experienced refreshment and ease. But thou hast been spared to the expiration of thy decreed term and known period.” The wolf, however, said to him, “Go, O evildoer, to my mother, and acquaint her with that which hath happened to me; perhaps she will contrive some means for my deliverance.” But the fox replied, “The excess of thy covetousness and eager desire has entrapped thee into destruction, since thou hast fallen into a pit from which thou wilt never be saved. Knowest thou not, O ignorant wolf, that the author of the proverb saith, ‘He who thinks not of results will not be secure from perils?

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