XXVI. The Foolish Wolf
A Wolf and an Ass were great friends, and they
spent most of their time playing at a game of their own. The game
was easy enough to learn ; you could play it yourselves ; and it
was this. First the Ass used to run away from the Wolf as hard
as he could, and the Wolf used to follow; and then the Wolf would
run as hard as he could from the Ass, and the Ass would follow.
One day, as the Wolf was running away from the Ass, a Boy saw them.
Ha, ha, ha," said the Boy, "what a coward 1 that Wolf
is, to run away from an Ass." He thought, you see, that the
Wolf was afraid of being eaten by the Ass.
The Wolf heard him, and was very angry. He stopped short,z and
said to the Boy
So you think I am a coward, little Boy? You shall suffer for what
you have said. I'm brave enough to eat you, as you shall find out
this very night; for I will come and carry you off from your home."
If the Wolf was no coward, at least he was a foolish Wolf to tell
the Boy if he meant to carry him off, as I think you will agree
The Boy went home to tell his mother. " Mother," said
he, " a Wolf is coming to-night to carry me off."
Oh, never mind if he does,"3said the Boy's mother, "he
won't hurt you."
The Boy did not feel quite so sure about that, for he had seen
sharp teeth in the mouth of the Wolf. So he chose out a big and
sharp stone, and put it in his pocket. Why he did not hide, I can't
tell you, for he never told me; but my own opinion is, he was almost
as foolish as the Wolf.
Well, when night came, the Boy's mother went up to bed, and she
was soon fast asleep, but the Boy was awake waiting for the Wolf.
About ten o'clock came a knock 4 at the door.
Come in," said the boy.
The Wolf opened the door, and came in, and, says he, "Now,
Boy, you must come along with me."
All right," says the Boy, "mother doesn't mind."
I have never been able to understand why his mother did not mind,
but perhaps he was a very bad Boy, and she was glad to get rid
of him. If he did nothing but pull his sisters' hair, and put spiders
down their necks, he was just as well out of the house, I think.
So the Boy got on the Wolf's back, and the Wolf ran quickly to
his den.5 Then the Wolf thought to himself, "I have had my
dinner, and I don't want any Boy to-night. What if I leave him
for to-morrow, and go for a walk with my friends?"
So he left the Boy in his den, and off he went to find his friends.
What makes me think more than ever that he was a foolish Wolf,
is that he never even tied the Boy's legs together. So when the
Wolf was gone, the Boy went out of the den, and climbed up a tree.
In an hour or two back came the Wolf, ready for bed. He looked
in at the mouth of the den, but no Boy.
I wonder where that Boy has got to?" said he; "I left
him here safe enough." It never entered this Wolf's head that
legs can walk, and Boys can climb trees. He felt very anxious,
and, as many people do when they are much in doubt, he opened his
The Boy saw him standing at the opening of the den, with his mouth
wide open, so he pulled the sharp stone out of his pocket, and
threw it in. This Boy was very clever in throwing stones, and the
stone went straight into the Wolf's inside, and cut his inside
so much that he died.
Then the Boy climbed down from the tree, and he was at home in
time for breakfast. I don't know whether his mother was pleased
to see him or not; but there he was, and there he stayed, and if
he has not gone away, he is there still.
1 One who is easily frightened, who has no courage, is a coward.
2 Or : suddenly. 3 Or : you need not mind if he does ; or : what
if he does '? 4 Someone knocked. 5 Wolves live in dens.