Now as they were going along, before the Lion got up to them, Ananzi begged Miss Nancy to put him down, that he might run, which he did, and he got away and ran along the wood, and the Lion ran after him. When he found the Lion was overtaking him, he turned himself into an old man with a bundle of wood on his head—and when the Lion got up to him, he said, “Good morning, Mr. Lion,” and the Lion said, “Good morning, old gentleman.”
Then the old man said, “What are you after now?” and the Lion asked if he had seen Ananzi pass that way, but the old man said, “No, that fellow Ananzi is always meddling with some one; what mischief has he been up to now?”
Then the Lion told him, but the old man said it was no use to follow him any more, for he would never catch him, and so the Lion wished him good-day, and turned and went home again.
THE GRATEFUL FOXES
One fine spring day two friends went out to a moor to gather fern, attended by a boy with a bottle of wine and a box of provisions. As they were straying about, they saw at the foot of a hill two foxes that had brought out their cub to play; and whilst they looked on, struck by the strangeness of the sight, three children came up from a neighbouring village with baskets in their hands, on the same errand as themselves. As soon as the children saw the foxes, they picked up a bamboo stick and took the creatures stealthily in the rear; and when the old foxes took to flight, they surrounded them and beat them with the stick, so that they ran away as fast as their legs could carry them; but two of the boys held down the cub, and, seizing it by the scruff of the neck, went off in high glee.
The two friends were looking on all the while, and one of them, raising his voice, shouted out, “Hallo! you boys! what are you doing with that fox?”
The eldest of the boys replied, “We’re going to take him home and sell him to a young man in our village. He’ll buy him, and then he’ll boil him in a pot and eat him.”
“Well,” replied the other, after considering the matter attentively, “I suppose it’s all the same to you whom you sell him to. You’d better let me have him.”
“Oh, but the young man from our village promised us a good sum if we could find a fox, and got us to come out to the hills and catch one; and so we can’t sell him to you at any price.”
“Well, I suppose it cannot be helped, then; but how much would the young man give you for the cub?”