Grimm's Household Tales with the
translated by Margaret Hunt
Fox and the Cat
IT happened that the cat met the
fox in a forest, and as she thought to herself, "He is clever and
full of experience, and much esteemed in the world," she spoke to
him in a friendly way. "Good-day, dear Mr. Fox, how are you? How
is all with you? How are you getting through this dear season?" The
fox, full of all kinds of arrogance, looked at the cat from head to foot,
and for a long time did not know whether he would give any answer or not.
At last he said, "Oh, thou wretched beard-cleaner, thou piebald fool,
thou hungry mouse-hunter, what canst thou be thinking of? Dost thou venture
to ask how I am getting on? What hast thou learnt? How many arts dost
thou understand?" "I understand but one," replied the cat,
modestly. "What art is that?" asked the fox. "When the
hounds are following me, I can spring into a tree and save myself."
"Is that all?" said the fox. "I am master of a hundred
arts, and have into the bargain a sackful of cunning. Thou makest me sorry
for thee; come with me, I will teach thee how people get away from the
hounds." Just then came a hunter with four dogs. The cat sprang nimbly
up a tree, and sat down on top of it, where the branches and foliage quite
concealed her. "Open your sack, Mr. Fox, open your sack," cried
the cat to him, but the dogs had already seized him, and were holding
him fast. "Ah, Mr. Fox," cried the cat. "You with your
hundred arts are left in the lurch! Had you been able to climb like me,
you would not have lost your life."
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Tales. Margaret Hunt, translator. London: George Bell, 1884, 1892. 2 volumes.
From Schweig, in the province of Treves. There is the same saga in an old German poem (Reinhart Fuchs, 363), in Nicolaus von Strasburg (Franz Pfeiffer's German Mystics, p. 293); also in Hans Sachs (2, 4, 177, Kempten). A Latin story from a manuscript of the 15th century is communicated by W. Wackernagel in Hofmann's Monatsschrift von und für Schlesien, 1829, pp. 471, 472. A sack filled with wisdom occurs hereafter, in No. 175; and in a Negro story, Kölle (No. 9), there is a sack in which reason is lying shut up.