Read on line
Listen on line
Main > Canada folktales > Fairy tale "Ermine and the Hunter"

Ermine and the Hunter

" "What can I do for you?" asked the man. "I am ashamed of my dirty brown coat, which I have worn for a long time," said the animal; "you have great magic from the wand you received from the fairy woman of the Blue Hills. I want a sleek and shining white coat that I can wear always, for I want to be clean." The man waved his wand again and wished for what the animal had asked him, and at once the shaggy brown coat of Ermine was replaced by a sleek and shining white coat as spotless as the new snow in winter. Then the animal said, "I have one more condition to impose on you. You must promise never to kill a bear's young cubs when they are still following their mother in the summer time. You must give them a chance to grow strong, so that they may be able to fight for their own lives." And the man promised, placing his hand upon the wand to bind his oath. Then, when he looked again, the wand had vanished from his hand. It had gone back through the air to the fairy woman of the Blue Hills.

Then Ermine set out on his search for Bear. The afternoon was very hot, and the forest was still, and not a leaf or a blade of grass was stirring, and there was not a ripple on the stream. The whole world was drowsy in the dry summer heat. But Ermine did not feel the heat, he was in such high spirits because of his new white coat. Soon he came upon Bear, stretched out at full length on the bank of the river, taking his afternoon nap, as was his custom after his fat midday meal. He was lying on his back, and his mouth was open wide, and he was snoring loudly like a waterfall. "This is your last sleep," said Ermine, creeping softly to his side, "for you are a dangerous thief; you shall snore no more." And with a bound he jumped down Bear's throat, and in an instant had pierced with his teeth his strong stony heart, which the arrows of the Indians could never reach. Then as quickly as he had entered the Bear's mouth Ermine jumped out again and ran from the place. Bear snored no more; he was quite dead, and the land was rid of his thefts and terrors.

Also read
The Dragon-Princess
Category: Chinese folktales
Read times: 170