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The Wild Boar

The wild boar in his rage bellowed furiously. He gnashed his formidable tusks one against the other and sprang towards Ourson, who dodged the attack and jumped to one side. The boar passed beyond him, paused a moment, then turned more furious than ever against Ourson who had now taken breath and with his axe raised in his hand awaited his enemy.

The wild boar sprung on Ourson and received on his head a most violent blow but his bones were so hard he scarcely seemed to feel it. The violence of the attack overthrew Ourson. The wild boar, seeing his enemy on the ground, did not give him time to rise but sprang upon him and with his tusks endeavored to tear him to pieces.

Ourson now thought himself lost, indeed he thought no more of himself, he prayed only for Violette's safety.

Whilst the wild boar was thus trampling and kicking his enemy, a jeering song was heard just above the combatants. The wild boar shuddered, suddenly quitted Ourson, raised his head and saw a lark flying above them. The mocking song continued and the brute, uttering a cry of rage, lowered his head and withdrew slowly without once turning round.

Violette at sight of Ourson's danger had fainted away but had rested supported by the branches of the tree. Ourson, who thought himself torn to pieces, scarcely dared attempt to move but feeling no pain he rose promptly to assist Violette. His heart was full of gratitude to the fairy Drolette to whom he attributed his rescue. At this moment the lark flew towards him, pecked his cheeks and whispered in his ear:

"Ourson, it was the fairy Furious who sent this wild boar. I arrived in time to save you. Profit by the gratitude of Violette and change skins with her. She will consent joyfully."

"Never!" cried Ourson. "I would rather be a bear all my life—rather die. Poor Violette! I should indeed be base if I abused her tenderness towards me in this way."

"Good-bye, obstinate one!" said the lark, flying away singing, "till we meet again. I shall come again—and then——"

"The result will be the same," said Ourson.

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