The Marvellous Musician
There was once upon a time a marvellous musician. One day he was wandering through a wood all by himself, thinking now of one thing, now of another, till there was nothing else left to think about. Then he said to himself:
`Time hangs very heavily on my hands when I'm all alone in the wood. I must try and find a pleasant companion.'
So he took his fiddle out, and fiddled till he woke the echoes round. After a time a wolf came through the thicket and trotted up to the musician.
`Oh! it's a Wolf, is it?' said he. `I've not the smallest wish for his society.'
But the Wolf approached him and said:
`Oh, my dear musician, how beautifully you play! I wish you'd teach me how it's done.'
`That's easily learned,' answered the fiddler; `you must only do exactly as I tell you.'
`Of course I will,' replied the Wolf. `I can promise that you will find me a most apt pupil.'
So they joined company and went on their way together, and after a time they came to an old oak tree, which was hollow and had a crack in the middle of the trunk.
`Now,' said the Musician, `if you want to learn to fiddle, here's your chance. Lay your front paws in this crack.'
The Wolf did as he was told, and the Musician quickly seized a stone, and wedged both his fore paws so firmly into the crack that he was held there, a fast prisoner.
`Wait there till I return,' said the Fiddler, and he went on his way.
After a time he said to himself again:
`Time hangs very heavily on my hands when I'm all alone in the wood; I must try and find a companion.'
So he drew out his fiddle, and fiddled away lustily. Presently a fox slunk through the trees.
`Aha I what have we here?' said the Musician. `A fox; well, I haven't the smallest desire for his company.'
The Fox came straight up to him and said:
`My dear friend, how beautifully you play the fiddle; I would like to learn how you do it.'
`Nothing easier,' said the Musician. `if you'll promise to do exactly as I tell you.'
`Certainly,' answered the Fox, `you have only to say the word.