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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "The War of the Wolf and the Fox"

The War of the Wolf and the Fox

There was once upon a time a man and his wife who had an old cat and an old dog. One day the man, whose name was Simon, said to his wife, whose name was Susan, 'Why should we keep our old cat any longer? She never catches any mice now-a-days, and is so useless that I have made up my mind to drown her.'

But his wife replied, 'Don't do that, for I'm sure she could still catch mice.'

'Rubbish,' said Simon. 'The mice might dance on her and she would never catch one. I've quite made up my mind that the next time I see her, I shall put her in the water.'

Susan was very unhappy when she heard this, and so was the cat, who had been listening to the conversation behind the stove. When Simon went off to his work, the poor cat miawed so pitifully, and looked up so pathetically into Susan's face, that the woman quickly opened the door and said, 'Fly for your life, my poor little beast, and get well away from here before your master returns.'

The cat took her advice, and ran as quickly as her poor old legs would carry her into the wood, and when Simon came home, his wife told him that the cat had vanished.

'So much the better for her,' said Simon. 'And now we have got rid of her, we must consider what we are to do with the old dog. He is quite deaf and blind, and invariably barks when there is no need, and makes no sound when there is. I think the best thing I can do with him is to hang him.'

But soft-hearted Susan replied, 'Please don't do so; he's surely not so useless as all that.'

'Don't be foolish,' said her husband. 'The courtyard might be full of thieves and he'd never discover it. No, the first time I see him, it's all up with him, I can tell you.'

Susan was very unhappy at his words, and so was the dog, who was lying in the corner of the room and had heard everything. As soon as Simon had gone to his work, he stood up and howled so touchingly that Susan quickly opened the door, and said 'Fly for your life, poor beast, before your master gets home.' And the dog ran into the wood with his tail between his legs.

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Category: English folktales
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