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How Rabbit Deceived Fox

Soon the old woman came back, carrying her axe. She sharpened it on a stone and said, "Now I will kill you, and you will thieve no more in my garden. A poor woman must live untroubled by such pilfering rogues." When Fox heard these words and the sound of the stone upon the axe, he knew that he had been deceived by Rabbit, and when the old woman opened the bag he sprang nimbly out with a sudden bound and was away before she could catch him. He swore by the Starlight that he would have vengeance on Rabbit. All night long he searched for him and all the next day, but he could not find him. At last in the gathering twilight he came upon him in an open space in the forest, on the other side of a stream, eating his fill of wild vegetables. Fox tried to coax him across the stream to his side, for he himself was afraid of the water, but Rabbit would not go. "Why don't you eat some cheese?" said Rabbit; "there is a big round cheese in the stream." Fox looked into the stream where Rabbit pointed, and there he saw the reflection of the big round yellow moon. He thought it was a round cheese, and he plunged in after it, for he was very fond of cheese. Rabbit hoped he would be drowned, but the stream was shallow and Fox climbed out with no cheese and with only a bad fright and a wet coat for his pains. He was very cross, for he knew that Rabbit wished to do him harm, but he kept his anger to himself. Rabbit was still eating contentedly.

"What are you eating?" said Fox, trying to hold him in talk until he could think of a plan to catch him. "I am eating good ripe fruit," said Rabbit. "I am eating Indian melons." "Throw me one," said Fox, for he was hungry. Rabbit threw him a large round wild cucumber all covered with green prickles. "Swallow it whole at a mouthful," said Rabbit; "it is very good that way." It was night and the moon shone dimly through the trees, and Fox could not see what he was eating. He swallowed the cucumber at one gulp, as Rabbit had told him, but the prickles stuck in his throat and he almost choked to death.

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