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17 The Fox Midwife 9. There were living and dwelling together a couple of friends, a wolf and a fox. They had this barrel of honey. Now the fox really liked sweets. The friends were lying in their hut, and the fox stealthily knocked with her tail. “Friend, oh friend,” said the wolf. “Someone’s knocking.” “Oh, you know, they’re calling me out to be a midwife!” murmured the fox.“Then off you go,” said the wolf. So she left the hut and went straight to that honey, licked up her fill, and came back.“And what did God grant?”asked the wolf.“A beginning,” answered the fox. Once more she was lying there knocking with her tail.“Friend! Someone ’s knocking,” said the wolf. “They’re calling me out to be midwife!” “Then off you go.” The fox left and went to the honey. She licked her fill; only a little honey remained on the bottom. She came back to the wolf. “What did God grant?” asked the wolf.“A middling.” A third time that fox deceived the wolf and licked up all the honey. “What did God grant?”“A scraping.” After a long or short time the fox shammed an illness and asked her friend the wolf to bring her some honey. The wolf went off, but there wasn’t a drop of honey. “Friend, oh friend,” screamed the wolf, “All the honey’s been eaten.”“What do you mean, eaten? Who ever ate it? Nobody but you,” the fox pursued her theme. The wolf crossed himself and swore on it.“Well, very good!” said the fox.“Let’s lie in the sun and whichever one of us sweats out honey is the guilty one.” So they went out and lay down. The fox didn’t sleep, but that gray wolf snored with his maw wide open. Somehow or other, that fox got hold of some honey; she quickly smeared it on the wolf.“Friend, friend,” she shoved the wolf,“What’s this? Here’s who’s eaten it!” And there was nothing for the wolf to do—he confessed. There’s a tale for you, and for me a pot of butter. 18 h The Fox Midwife 10. There lived and dwelt this wolf and fox. The fox had a hut made of ice; the wolf ’s was made of bast. Summer came. The fox’s hut melted away. She went to the wolf ’s place and begged:“Let me in, friend, onto a ladder rung.” “No, friend, I won’t let you in.” “Let me in, friend!” “Oh, all right, climb up.” The vixen climbed up onto the ladder. How would she get onto the porch? She didn’t start pleading right away, but quietly, a little at a time: “Let me up onto that porch, dear friend!” “No, I won’t let you go there, friend.” “Let me, friend!” “Oh, all right, climb up.” She went up onto the porch.“Let me into the hallway!” “No, friend, I won’t let you.” “Oh, let me in!” “Oh, all right, climb on in.” She went into the hallway.“Let me into your hut, friend!” “No, friend, I won’t let you in.” “Oh, let me in.” “Oh, come on in.” The vixen came into the hut.“Friend, let me onto that stove grating.” “No, friend, I won’t let you.” “Oh, let me, friend.” “Oh, come on then.” She went onto the grating.“Let me onto the rafters, friend!” “No, I won’t let you.” “Oh, let me!” “Oh, come on then.” And then from the rafters she begged:“Let me onto the stove, friend!” “No, friend, I won’t let you.” “Oh, let me, friend!” “All right then, come on over,” the wolf said with vexation. His friend lay down on the stove and she started knocking with her tail: “Listen, friend, they’re calling me out to be midwife.”“Then go,” answered her friend. The fox went out onto the roof. There she found a pot of butter, and she started in on it. She came back into the hut. The wolf asked,“Well, what did God grant, friend?”“A little beginning.” She once more lay down and knocked with her tail, and then she said,“Listen, friend, they’re calling me out to be a midwife.”“Then go, friend.” She went The Fox Midwife h 19 out onto the roof, and then came back. The wolf asked,“What did God grant, friend...


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