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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Little Lame Fox - The Story of the Youngest Brother Who Found the Magic Grape-Vine and Married the Golden Maiden"

The Little Lame Fox - The Story of the Youngest Brother Who Found the Magic Grape-Vine and Married the Golden Maiden

"Let's kill it!" cried one of the brothers.

They both jumped up and tried to strike the little creature with their sticks. The Fox limped off and they followed, hitting at it as they ran and always just missing it. It was so weak and lame that they expected every minute to overtake it and so kept on chasing it until it had led them pretty far into the woods. Then suddenly it disappeared and there was nothing left for the brothers to do but make their way back to the roadside grumbling and cursing. In their absence some shepherd dogs had found their open wallets and eaten all their food. So now they really had something to curse about.

Janko meanwhile had been trudging along steadily on the third road. At last when he began to feel hungry, he sat down by the wayside and opened his wallet. Instantly the same Little Lame Fox came limping up and whimpered and fawned and begged for something to eat.

"You poor little creature," Janko said, "are you hungry?"

He held out his hand coaxingly and the animal gave it a timid sniff.

"Of course I'll give you something to eat," Janko said. "There's enough for both of us."

With that he divided his bread and cheese and gave the Little Fox half. Then they ate together and the Little Fox allowed Janko to pat her head.

When they finished eating the Fox sat up on her haunches and said:

"Now, Janko, tell me about yourself. Who are you and where are you going?"

The Fox seemed such a sensible little person that it didn't surprise Janko in the least to have her sit up and talk. Janko's brothers would have said that he hadn't sense enough to be surprised. But he had a good heart, Janko had, and as you'll soon hear a good heart is a much better guide for conduct than wicked brains.

Janko answered the Fox simply and truthfully. He told about his father and his two brothers and about his father's weeping eye and the Magic Grape-Vine for which he and his brothers were gone in search.

"You've been good to me," the Little Fox said. "You've shared your bread with me and that makes us friends.

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