02Mar
2012
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The Wedding Of Mrs Fox

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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