THE truth is Pekka, the Wolf, was a pretty stupid fellow always getting into some scrape or other. With sore ribs and a back aching from the beating which the farm folk had given him he slunk quietly along the forest ways hoping to come upon some easy prey. Suddenly he saw ahead of him a Goat and a Ram.
"What are they doing hereabouts?" he thought to himself. "This is no place for them and if anything happens to them it will be their own fault."
Vuhi, the Goat, and Dinas, the Ram, both knew that the forest was no place for them. But where else could they go? They had recently been turned loose to fend for themselves by their poor old master who was no longer able to feed them.
"This forest rather frightens me," the Ram had said to the Goat. "Do you suppose we'll be able to keep off the Wolves?"
Vuhi, the Goat, flirted his whiskers and said:
"I've got a plan."
Thereupon he took a sack and half filled it with dry chips. Then when he shook the sack the chips made a hollow rattle. He threw the sack over his shoulder and said to the Ram:
"Don't you be frightened, Dinas. We'll be able to hold our own with the forest creatures."
It was just at this moment that Pekka, the Wolf, appeared.
"Ha! Ha!" said Pekka suspiciously. "What's that you've got in that sack? No nonsense now! Answer me at once or I'll have to kill you both!"
Vuhi, the Goat, gave the sack a little rattle.
"In this sack?" he said. "Oh, only the skulls and bones of the Wolves we have eaten. We haven't had any Wolf meat now for some time, have we, Dinas? It's good you've come along for we're hungry.... Attention, Dinas! Kill the Wolf!"
The Ram lowered his horns ready for attack and Pekka, the Wolf, too surprised to resist and too stiff to run away, cried out wildly:
"Brothers! Brothers! Don't kill me! I'm your friend! Spare me and I'll do something for you!"
"Attention, Dinas!" the Goat commanded. "Don't kill the Wolf just yet!"
Then he asked Pekka:
"What will you do for us if we spare you?"
"I'll send you twelve Wolves," Pekka promised. "That will give you more meat than you'd have if you killed just me!"
"Twelve," the Goat replied. "You are right: twelve Wolves will give us more meat than one. Very well, we'll let you go on condition that you send us twelve. But see you keep your word!"
So the Wolf went off as fast as his stiff legs could carry him and assembled twelve of his brothers.
"I've called you together," he said, "to warn you of two terrible creatures, a Goat and a Ram, who are here in the forest eating up Wolves! Already they have a sack full of our unfortunate relations' skulls and bones! I saw the sack myself! Don't you think we ought all of us to flee?"
"What!" said the other Wolves, "thirteen Wolves turn tail on one Goat and one Ram? Never! We'll go together and give them battle!"
"Don't count me in!" Pekka said. "I don't want to see those two again!"
So the twelve Wolves marched off without Pekka.
The Goat as he saw them coming ran up a tree. The Ram followed him but couldn't get very high.
The twelve Wolves came under the tree and standing in close formation called out:
"Now then, you two, come on! We're ready for you!"
"Attention, Dinas!" the Goat commanded. "They're all here, so lose no more time! Jump down among them and kill them!"
The Goat himself began climbing down the tree, at the same time making an awful noise with his sack. He gave the Ram a push and the Ram slipped and fell right on the backs of the Wolves.
"That's right, Dinas! Kill them all!" the Goat shouted, rattling his sack more furiously than ever. "Don't let one of them escape!"
In the confusion that followed the Wolves stampeded, running helter-skelter in all directions. Every Wolf there felt that his own escape was a piece of rare good fortune.
"Those terrible two!" he thought.
Thereafter Vuhi, the Goat, and Dinas, the Ram, lived on in the forest untroubled by the Wolves.