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38 The Peasant, the Bear, and the Fox 23. A peasant was plowing his field, and a bear came up to him and said, “Peasant, I’m going to bash you in!”“No, don’t touch me; I’m sowing turnips and I’ll just take the roots for myself and give you the tops.”“Agreed,” said the bear,“but if you deceive me, don’t come into my woods again for firewood!”He said that, and then went off into a copse.Time passed. The peasant dug up the turnips, and the bear came out of the copse. “Well, peasant, let’s divide it up!”“Very well, little bear! Let me bring you the tops,” and he took him a cartload of turnip greens. The bear was satisfied with this honest division. Then the peasant loaded his turnips onto the cart and set off for the town to sell them, and he met up with the bear “Peasant, where are you going?” “Oh, little bear, I’m going to town to sell the roots.” “Let me try one, to see what a root’s like!” The peasant gave him a turnip. The bear ate it.“Argh,” he roared.“You have deceived me, peasant. Your roots are sweet. Don’t you come after firewood, or I’ll tear you up.” The peasant came back from the town and was afraid to go into the woods. He burned up his shelving, and the benches, and the barrels, and finally there was nothing else to be done: He’d have to go into the woods. He entered ever so quietly. And then suddenly, out of nowhere a fox came running by.“Why are you going so quietly,little man?”the fox asked. “I’m afraid of the bear, he’s angry with me, he’s promised to tear me up.” “Don’t be afraid of the bear. Cut your wood and I’ll stand watch. If the bear asks what’s going on, say they’re out catching wolves and bears.” The peasant started chopping. He looked and there came the bear running up, and he shouted at the peasant, “Hey, old man! What’s the racket all about?” “They’re hunting wolves and bears!” “Oh, little peasant, put me on your sledge, throw some firewood on me, and tie me with a rope; maybe they’ll think I’m just a hollow log.” The Peasant, the Bear, and the Fox h 39 The peasant put him on his sledge, tied him with a rope, and bashed him on the head until he quit breathing. The fox came running up and said,“Where’s the bear?” “There, I killed him” “Well now then, my good man, you have to treat me.” “As you wish, foxy. Come to my place and I’ll give you a treat.” The peasant rode along, and the fox ran off ahead. As they were approaching the peasant’s house, he whistled to his dogs, and they pounced on the fox. She ran off into the woods and popped into her burrow. She hid in the burrow and asked,“Oh, my little eyes, what did you see, as I was running?” “Oh, little fox, we watched to make sure you didn’t stumble.” “And you, my little ears, what did you do?” “We listened to hear how far off the hounds were.” “And you, tail, what did you do?” “I kept getting under foot so you’d get tangled up and fall and let the hounds sink their teeth into you.” “Oh, you vermin! Let the dogs eat you up!” And she stuck her tail out of the burrow and shouted,“Here, eat the fox’s tail, dogs!” The dogs grabbed the fox by the tail and killed the fox. This often occurs: On account of the tail, the head perishes! 24. A peasant and a bear enjoyed a great friendship. And so they once undertook to sow some turnips. They sowed them and then began discussing who would take what. The peasant said,“I’ll have the roots and you, Misha, take the tops.” Their turnips grew up. Misha saw that he’d made a mistake, and he said to the peasant,“You’ve fooled me, Brother! If we ever sow anything again, you won’t trick me.” A year passed. The peasant said to the bear, “Misha, let’s sow some wheat!” “Let’s,” said Misha. So they sowed the wheat. The wheat ripened . The peasant...


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