The Tiger and the Fox

In a certain forest, where many jackals and foxes lived, a Tiger came and took up residence. And what was he planning to do?

Every day he would kill one or two jackals. So the jackals and foxes gathered and said, “If he comes this way, he’ll eat all of us, so let’s agree that everyone will take turns being eaten. And so they did, every day they gave the one who was up to the Tiger.

One day it was the turn of a Fox. At first he hid, but then he thought, “Now I have to go, because I’m trapped on both sides. I’ll go, but I’ll try to keep my breath in me.” So he set out, and trembled as he approached the Tiger.

“Ah!” said the Tiger, “Fox, where have you been all this time?” – “Sir,” said the Fox, “another Tiger has come to live in your land.” – “Where is that Tiger?” asked the Tiger. “Come with me,” said the Fox, “I’ll show him to you.” So the Fox led the way and the Tiger followed him, and they went on until they came to a well. They stood at the mouth of the well, and then the Fox said, “Oh, Lord Tiger! That other Tiger has just come home, after feasting on a jackal, and he is now in this well.”

Then the Tiger said, “What kind of Tiger can he be to come to my land! Either I must stay here alone, or he must stay alone, but we really cannot live together here.” Then he went to the well and looked inside and saw a Tiger sitting there. But in reality it was only his own shadow, and not another Tiger. Then he jumped into the well, and there he drowned.

Then the Fox, jumping for joy, went back to his home. He called to his brothers, “Come here! Foxes and jackals!” They came to him but were very angry and said, “Fox, it was your turn to be eaten by the Tiger; why did you come back? Now the Tiger will be angry and come back to kill two or three jackals and two or three foxes.”

The Fox replied, “Don’t be afraid. I killed that Tiger.” But they all said, “You are a Fox and he is a Tiger; how could you kill him?” He said, “Come, I’ll show you.”

They followed the Fox in fear, and trembling with fear they came to the mouth of the well. The Fox cried out and said, “Come and see how I killed the Tiger and threw him into this well.” They peered inside and said that it was true and that the Tiger was dead in the well.

And they were all extremely happy about it!