The Fox and the Cat


It happened that the cat met the fox in a forest, and as she thought
to herself: 'He is clever and full of experience, and much esteemed in
the world,' she spoke to him in a friendly way. 'Good day, dear Mr
Fox, how are you? How is all with you? How are you getting on in these
hard times?' The fox, full of all kinds of arrogance, looked at the
cat from head to foot, and for a long time did not know whether he
would give any answer or not. At last he said: 'Oh, you wretched
beard-cleaner, you piebald fool, you hungry mouse-hunter, what can you
be thinking of? Have you the cheek to ask how I am getting on? What
have you learnt? How many arts do you understand?' 'I understand but
one,' replied the cat, modestly. 'What art is that?' asked the fox.
'When the hounds are following me, I can spring into a tree and save
myself.' 'Is that all?' said the fox. 'I am master of a hundred arts,
and have into the bargain a sackful of cunning. You make me sorry for
you; come with me, I will teach you how people get away from the
hounds.' Just then came a hunter with four dogs. The cat sprang nimbly
up a tree, and sat down at the top of it, where the branches and
foliage quite concealed her. 'Open your sack, Mr Fox, open your sack,'
cried the cat to him, but the dogs had already seized him, and were
holding him fast. 'Ah, Mr Fox,' cried the cat. 'You with your hundred
arts are left in the lurch! Had you been able to climb like me, you
would not have lost your life.'

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