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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "The Marvellous Musician"

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.

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Category: United States folktales
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