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Aesop's Fables by  J. H. Stickney





ERY early one winter morning, during a hard frost, a Fox was drinking at a hole in the ice not far from the haunts of men.

Meanwhile, whether by accident or from negligence doesn’t not matter, the end of its tail got wet and froze to the ice.

No great harm was done; the Fox could easily remedy it. It had only to give a tolerably hard pull and leave about a score of hairs behind; then it could run home quickly before any one came.

But how could it make up its mind to spoil its tail? Such a bushy tail as it was—so ample, so golden! No; better wait a little. Surely men are sleeping still. It is even possible that [207] a thaw may set in meanwhile. In that case it will be able to withdraw its tail easily from the ice hole.

So it waits; it goes on waiting, but its tail only freezes all the more. The Fox looks round; the day is already beginning to dawn. People are stirring; voices are to be heard. Our poor Fox begins to move wildly about, now this way and now that. But still it cannot free itself from the hole.

Luckily, a Wolf comes running that way.

"Dear friend! father!" cried the Fox; "do save me; I am all but lost!"

So the Wolf stopped and set to work to rescue the Fox. Its method was a simple one—it bit the tail clean off.

So our foolish fried went home tailless, but rejoicing that its skin was still on its back.

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