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The Wedding Of Mrs Fox

First StoryThere was once upon a time an old fox with nine tails, who believedthat his wife was not faithful to him, an...

The Wedding Of Mrs Fox

First Story
There was once upon a time an old fox with nine tails, who believedthat his wife was not faithful to him, and wished to put her to thetest. He stretched himself out under the bench, did not move a limb,and behaved as if he were stone dead. Mrs Fox went up to her room, shutherself in, and her maid, Miss Cat, sat by the fire, and did thecooking. When it became known that the old fox was dead, suitorspresented themselves. The maid heard someone standing at thehouse-door, knocking. She went and opened it, and it was a young fox,who said:

«What may you be about, Miss Cat? Do you sleep or do you wake?»

She answered:

«I am not sleeping, I am waking, Would you know what I am making? I am boiling warm beer with butter, Will you be my guest for supper?»

«No, thank you, miss,» said the fox, «what is Mrs Fox doing?» Themaid replied:

«She is sitting in her room, Moaning in her gloom, Weeping her little eyes quite red, Because old Mr Fox is dead.»

«Do just tell her, miss, that a young fox is here, who would like towoo her.» «Certainly, young sir.»

The cat goes up the stairs trip, trap, The door she knocks at tap, tap, tap, «Mistress Fox, are you inside?» «Oh, yes, my little cat,» she cried. «A wooer he stands at the door out there.» «What does he look like, my dear?»

«Has he nine as beautiful tails as the late Mr Fox?» «Oh, no,’answered the cat, «he has only one.» «Then I will not have him.»

Miss Cat went downstairs and sent the wooer away. Soon afterwardsthere was another knock, and another fox was at the door who wished towoo Mrs Fox. He had two tails, but he did not fare better than thefirst. After this still more came, each with one tail more than theother, but they were all turned away, until at last one came who hadnine tails, like old Mr Fox. When the widow heard that, she saidjoyfully to the cat:

«Now open the gates and doors all wide, And carry old Mr Fox outside.»

But just as the wedding was going to be solemnized, old Mr Foxstirred under the bench, and cudgelled all the rabble, and drove themand Mrs Fox out of the house.

Second Story
When old Mr Fox was dead, the wolf came as a suitor, and knocked atthe door, and the cat who was servant to Mrs Fox, opened it for him. Thewolf greeted her, and said:

«Good day, Mrs Cat of Kehrewit, How comes it that alone you sit? What are you making good?»

The cat replied:

«In milk I’m breaking bread so sweet, Will you be my guest, and eat?»

«No, thank you, Mrs Cat,» answered the wolf. «Is Mrs Fox not at home?»

The cat said:

«She sits upstairs in her room, Bewailing her sorrowful doom, Bewailing her trouble so sore, For old Mr Fox is no more.»

The wolf answered:

«If she’s in want of a husband now, Then will it please her to step below?» The cat runs quickly up the stair, And lets her tail fly here and there, Until she comes to the parlour door. With her five gold rings at the door she knocks: «Are you within, good Mistress Fox? If you’re in want of a husband now, Then will it please you to step below?»

Mrs Fox asked: «Has the gentleman red stockings on, and has he apointed mouth?» «No,» answered the cat. «Then he won’t do for me.»

When the wolf was gone, came a dog, a stag, a hare, a bear, a lion,and all the beasts of the forest, one after the other. But one of thegood qualities which old Mr Fox had possessed, was always lacking, andthe cat had continually to send the suitors away. At length came ayoung fox. Then Mrs Fox said: «Has the gentleman red stockings on,and has a little pointed mouth?» «Yes,» said the cat, «he has.’«Then let him come upstairs,» said Mrs Fox, and ordered the servantto prepare the wedding feast.

«Sweep me the room as clean as you can, Up with the window, fling out my old man! For many a fine fat mouse he brought, Yet of his wife he never thought, But ate up every one he caught.»

Then the wedding was solemnized with young Mr Fox, and there wasmuch rejoicing and dancing; and if they have not left off, they aredancing still.

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