Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The boy and the fox

A poor boy lived with his parents. They were so poor that they never had enough to eat the next meal. One day the father thought of a plan to work on their field and earn some money. He called his son and said, “son it is not wise to live as we are doing and I have decided that you will go and dig our small plot of land at the edge of the forest”. 

The son agreed and the next day he set out to his task at the crack of dawn with the three pieces of bread made out of barley by this mother for his lunch. The son reached the field and sat on a huge rock. Instead of going straight to work, he opened his packed lunch and thought. “If I eat one bread just now, it will not fill my tummy and if I eat two after work, it will be too much”. He kept on pondering over whether to eat or not before working and he thought out aloud.

Just beneath the rock lived three fox kids whose mother had gone out to look for food. He kids heard what the boy was babbling and they got scared thinking that the boy was planning to eat three of them. When the mother fox returned home in the evening she saw her kids scared and shaking and upon asking they said, “A giant came and saw us. He said that he was going to eat us”. Upon hearing it, the mother panicked but waited for the arrival of the giant the next day.

Meanwhile, the boy went home and returned the bread to his mother saying that he didn’t know how to eat it. 

The next day, the mother once again urged the boy to go and continue his work. He did exactly as he did on the previous day. He opened his packed lunch and sat there on the huge rock pondering over how many pieces of bread he should eat and said it out aloud. At that moment, the mother fox heard him and came out and begged the boy not to eat her children. She said that she would offer him a goat which could cough gold when bleated. The boy happily agreed though he was little baffled and walked home with the goat.

On the way, a greedy neighbour saw him and asked, “Where did you get the goat from?” The innocent boy related his story about how he came into the possession of the goat. Now, the greedy neighbour wanted the prized goat for himself turned sugar tongued and asked the boy to halt for a night in his house. After having his best meal with locally brewed wine, the boy went to sleep little knowing about the evil scheme of the neighbour.

In the middle of the night, the neighbour exchanged the magical goat with an ordinary lookalike.

The boy unaware of what his neighbour did left for his home early morning after thanking his neighbour for his hospitality. When he reached home, he narrated his parents on his new found possession and tried getting the gold by hitting it. No gold droplets were seen forthcoming. He got so annoyed and went back to the fox, who gave him a hen that laid golden eggs.

On his way back home, he again passed his greedy neighbour who offered him meal and swapped the special hen with an ordinary one. When he reached home, he put his hen on the table and asked it to lay golden eggs but the hen didn’t and in his frustration he killed it and made a meal out of it.

He returned to the field on the third day and narrated what happened to the fox. This time, the fox gave him and rope and a stick and said, “Henceforth no one will try to harm you.”

The boy was happy with his new possession. On his way he met his neighbour. He offered him tea and while washing his hands saw the rope and stick that the boy had kept outside. He went towards it and lo! The rope tightened around the neighbour’s hand and the stick started hitting the man. He man started shouting for help and when the boy came rushing outside, he saw his neighbour on his knees and begging pardon, “I will return your goat and hen. Please free me”. The boy commanded the stick to stop hitting and the rope to free the man. He got his goat and hen and walked home.

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