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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

When her husband returned, his wife told him that the dog had disappeared.

'That's lucky for him,' said Simon, but Susan sighed, for she had been very fond of the poor creature.

Now it happened that the cat and dog met each other on their travels, and though they had not been the best of friends at home, they were quite glad to meet among strangers. They sat down under a holly tree and both poured forth their woes.

Presently a fox passed by, and seeing the pair sitting together in a disconsolate fashion, he asked them why they sat there, and what they were grumbling about.

The cat replied, 'I have caught many a mouse in my day, but now that I am old and past work, my master wants to drown me.'

And the dog said, 'Many a night have I watched and guarded my master's house, and now that I am old and deaf, he wants to hang me.'

The fox answered, 'That's the way of the world. But I'll help you to get back into your master's favour, only you must first help me in my own troubles.'

They promised to do their best, and the fox continued, 'The wolf has declared war against me, and is at this moment marching to meet me in company with the bear and the wild boar, and to-morrow there will be a fierce battle between us.'

'All right,' said the dog and the cat, 'we will stand by you, and if we are killed, it is at any rate better to die on the field of battle than to perish ignobly at home,' and they shook paws and concluded the bargain. The fox sent word to the wolf to meet him at a certain place, and the three set forth to encounter him and his friends.

The wolf, the bear, and the wild boar arrived on the spot first, and when they had waited some time for the fox, the dog, and the cat, the bear said, 'I'll climb up into the oak tree, and look if I can see them coming.'

The first time he looked round he said, 'I can see nothing,' and the second time he looked round he said, 'I can still see nothing.' But the third time he said, 'I see a mighty army in the distance, and one of the warriors has the biggest lance you ever saw!

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