A WOLF and an Ass were great friends, and they spent most of their time playing at an original game of their own. The game was easy enough to learn; you could play it yourselves; and it was this. First the Ass used to run away from the Wolf as hard as he could, and the Wolf used to follow; and then the Wolf would run as hard as he could from the Ass, and the Ass would follow.
One day, as the Wolf was running away full tilt from the Ass, a Boy saw them.
"Ha, ha, ha," said the Boy, "what a coward that Wolf is, to run away from an Ass." He thought, you see, that the Wolf was afraid of being eaten by the Ass.
The Wolf heard him, and was very angry. He stopped short, and said to the Boy--
"So you think I am a coward, little Boy? You shall rue the word. I'm brave enough to eat you, as you shall find out this very night; for I will come and carry you off from your home."
If the Wolf was no coward, at least he was a foolish Wolf to tell the Boy if he meant to carry him off, as I think you will agree with me.
The Boy went home to tell his mother. "Mother," said he, "a Wolf is coming to-night to carry me off."
"Oh, never mind if he does," said the Boy's mother, "he won't hurt you."
The Boy did not feel quite so sure about that, for he had seen sharp teeth in the mouth of the Wolf. So he chose out a big and sharp stone, and put it in his pocket. Why he did not hide, I can't tell you, for he never told me; but my private opinion is, he was almost as foolish as the Wolf.
Well, when night came, the Boy's mother went to bed, and she was soon snoring, but the Boy stayed up to wait for the Wolf. About ten o'clock came a knock at the door.
"Come in," said the Boy.
The Wolf opened the door, and came in, and says he, "Now, Boy, you must come along with me."
"All right," says the Boy, "mother doesn't mind."
I have never been able to understand why his mother did not mind, but perhaps he was a very naughty Boy, and she was glad to get rid of him. If he did nothing but pull his sisters' hair, and put spiders down their necks, he was just as well out of the house, I think.
So the Boy got on the Wolf's back, and the Wolf trotted off briskly to his den. Then the Wolf thought to himself, "I have had my dinner, and I don't want any Boy to-night. Suppose I leave him for to-morrow, and go for a spin with my friend the Jackass."
So he left the Boy in his den, and off he went after the Jackass.
What makes me think more than ever that he was a foolish Wolf, is that he never even tied the Boy's legs together. So when the Wolf was gone, the Boy went out of the den, and climbed up a tree.
In an hour or two back came the Wolf, ready for bed. He looked in at the mouth of the den, but no Boy.
"Where on earth has that Boy got to?" said he; "I left him here safe and sound." It never occurred to this Wolf that legs can walk, and Boys can climb trees. He felt very anxious, and as many people do when their wits are puzzled, he opened his mouth wide.
The Boy saw him standing at the opening of the den, with his mouth wide open, so he pulled the sharp stone out of his pocket, and threw it in. This Boy was a very good shot with a stone, and the stone went straight into the Wolf's inside, and cut his inside so much that he died.
Then the Boy climbed down from the tree, and
he was at home in time for breakfast. I don't
know whether his mother was pleased
to see him or not; but there he was,
and there he stayed, and if he
has not gone away, he is