Grimm's Fairy Tales

Wolf and Fox

Gray Wolf held Red Fox in slavery.

Whatsoever Gray Wolf wished, Red Fox was compelled to do, as he was weaker.

He would gladly be rid of his master.

It chanced that once as they were going through Forest, Gray Wolf said, "Red Fox, get me something to eat, or I will eat thee."

Red Fox answered, "I know a farm-yard where there are two young lambs; if thou art inclined, we will fetch one of them."

Gray Wolf agreed, they went thither, and Red Fox stole a little lamb.

Gray Wolf devoured it! Not satisfied with one; he wanted another.

An awkward approach got the little lamb to bleat so Farmer came running.

Farmer found Gray Wolf and beat him mercilessly.

Gray Wolf went to Red Fox limping and wimpering.

I went to fetch another lamb. Farmer surprised me and beat me to a jelly."

Red Fox replied, "Why art thou such a glutton ?"

Next day they again went into the country, and the greedy Gray Wolf once more said, "Red Fox, get me something to eat, or I will eat thee thyself."

Red Fox, "I know a baker where a Baker is baking pancakes."

Red Fox slipped round the bakery, sniffed about until he discovered the dish, then drew down six pancakes and carried them to Gray Wolf.

"Here is something for thee to eat," said he to him.

Gray Wolf swallowed down the pancakes in an instant, and said, "They make me want more," and went thither and tore the dish down so that it broke in pieces.

This made such a great noise that the Baker came out, saw Gray Wolf, called Farmer, who hurried there and they beat him with long sticks, with two lame legs and howling loudly he finally reached Red Fox in the forest.

"Thou misled me!" cried he, "Farmer and Baker beat me."

Red Fox only replied half-heartedly, "Not so ! Why art thou such a glutton?"

On the third day Gray Wolf limping along painfully said, "Red Fox, get me something to eat, or I will eat thee thyself."

Red Fox answered, "I know a Butcher who has been butchering, and the salted meat is lying in a barrel in the cellar; we can get that."

Red Fox showed Gray Wolf the byways, at length they reached the cellar.

There was fresh meat in abundance.

Gray Wolf thoughy, "There is plenty of time before I need leave off!"

Red Fox judiciously began feeding while remaining alert.

Often Red Fox ran to the hole by which they had entered, darting in and out checking that his body was still thin enough to slip through.

Gray Wolf wondering between gulps, "Red Fox, tell me why thou art running here and there and jumping in and out? You are upsetting my digestion!"

"I must see that no one is coming," replied Red Fox. "Don't overeat!"

Gray Wolf thought to himself, "I shall not leave until the barrel is empty."

Butcher hearing Red Fox scampering about entered the cellar to check.

Red Fox immediately saw Butcher and was out of the hole in one bound.

Gray Wolf attempted the hole but stuck fast.

Butcher approached Gray Wolf cursing, stuck fast in the hole Butcher did not need the help of Farmer or Baker as he severed his spine with a meat cleaver.

Red Fox bounded into the forest well sated and glad to be rid of the glutton.

Once upon a time on the banks of a great river in the north of Germany lay a town called Hamelin.

The citizens of Hamelin were honest folk who lived contentedly in their Grey stone houses.

The years went by, and the town grew very rich.

Then one day, an extraordinary thing happened to disturb the peace.

Pope Gregory IX, known for issuing the Decretales and instituting the Papal Inquisition, also issued Vox in Rama a papal bull issued condemning cats as an incarnation of Satan.

In the papal bull the cat is addressed as "master" and the incarnate devil is half-man half-feline in nature.

Vox in Rama was a death warrant for cats, which were slaughtered without mercy until the Black Death descended and depopulated Europe.

cats hunted down rat population explodes  black death descends  on Europe

Hamelin had always had rats, and a lot too.

But they had never been a danger, for the cats had always solved the rat problem in the usual way - by killing and eating them.

Now, with no cats, the rats began to multiply.

In the end, a black sea of rats swarmed over the whole town.

First, they attacked the barns and storehouses, then, for lack of anything better, they gnawed the wood, cloth and even gnawed the wooden alms box !

The one thing they didn't eat was the metal coin in the alms box.

The terrified citizens flocked to plead with the town councilors to free them from the plague of rats.

The council reluctuntly gathered for they knew that should they speak out against the papal bull they too might end up in the Inquisitor's chambers.

Eventually the meekest among them finally whispered.

"What we need is an army of cats!"

But all the cats were dead.

"We'll put down poisoned food then . . ."

But the rats had eaten the food and there was no food to poison.

"It just can't be done without divine intervention!" noted the Mayor sadly.

Just then, while the citizens milled around, there was a loud knock at the door.

"Who can that be?" the city fathers wondered, mindful of the angry crowds.

They gingerly opened the door.

To their surprise, there stood a tall thin man dressed in clothes the colors of the rainbow, with a long peacock feather in his hat, waving a wooden flute.

"I've freed other towns of beetles and bats," the stranger announced, "and for a thousand florins, I'll rid you of your rats!"

"A thousand florins!" exclaimed the Mayor. "We'll give you fifty thousand!"

At once the stranger hurried away, saying:

"It's late now, but at dawn tomorrow, there won't be a rat left in Hamelin!"

The sun was still below the horizon, when the sound of a pipe wafted through the streets of Hamelin.

The pied piper slowly made his way through the houses and behind him flocked the rats.

Out they scampered from doors, windows and gutters, rats of every size, all after the piper.

And as he played, the stranger marched down to the river and straight into the water up to chest deep.

Behind him swarmed the rats.

Everyone of them was drowned and swept away by the current.

By the time the sun was high in the sky, not a single rat was left in the town.

There was great delight at the town hall, until the piper claimed his payment.

"Fifty thousand florins?" exclaimed the councilors.

"Never !"

" A thousand florins at least !" begged the pied piper angrily.

The Mayor broke in. "The rats are all dead now and they can never come back. So be grateful for fifty florins, or you'll not get even that . . ."

His eyes flashing rage, the pied piper pointed a threatening finger.

"You'll bitterly regret ever breaking your promise," he said, and vanished.

A shiver of fear ran through the councilors, but the Mayor shrugged and said excitedly: "We've saved fifty thousand florins!"

That night, freed from the nightmare of the rats, the citizens of Hamelin slept more soundly than ever.

When the strange sound of piping wafted through the streets at before dawn in the darkest part of night, only the children heard it.

Drawn as if by magic, they hurried out of their homes.

The pied piper sauntered through the town, only this time it was children of all sizes that flocked at his heels to the sound of his strange piping.

The long procession soon left the town and made its way through the wood and across the forest till it reached the foot of a huge mountain.

When the piper came to the dark rock, he played his pipe even louder still and a great stone rolled away to reveal a cave beyond.

In trooped the children behind the pied piper, and when the last child had gone into the darkness.

A great landslide came down the mountain blocking the entrance to the cave forever.

Only one little lame boy escaped this fate.

He told the anxious citizens, searching for their children, what had happened.

And no matter what people did, the mountain never gave up its victims.

Many years were to pass before the merry voices of children would ring through the streets of Hamelin but the memory of the harsh lesson lingered in everyone's heart and was passed down from father to son through the centuries.

There was once a bonded debt serving girl.

One morning she found a letter which she tendered to her employers.

It was an invitation from the elves asking the girl to witness a baptism.

The girl knowing not what to do, head spinning under duress, consented.

Three elves whisked her to a hollow mountain where the little folks lived.

Minature elegance reigned in a bed of black ebony ornamented with pearls, covers embroidered with gold, cradle of ivory, bath-tub of gold.

The girl, after standing as godmother, was made to stay three days.

Three days passed in pleasure and gaiety while the little folks served her.

Finally released they sent her on her way pockets bulging with gold coin.

She found strangers at the house. Her master had died.

She was astonished to discover three days with the little men in the mountains, had been seven years!

Seven years had passed since a Changeling with a large head and staring eyes, had appeared in the place of a neighbor's infant.

A midwife told her to carry the changeling into the kitchen, set it down by the hearth, light a fire, and boil some water in two egg-shells.

The woman did everything that the widwife bade her.

When the water in the egg-shells on the fire boiled goggle-eyes said, "I am as old as the forest, but never have I seen anyone boil anything in an egg-shell."

And the Changeling began to laugh.

Whilst he was laughing a host of little elves came with the mother's infant who seemed to have not aged a day.

The elves set the infant down by the hearth taking the changeling away.

- attributed to the Brothers Grimm, German storytellers and moralists

rainbow feather of the pied piper

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