ONE day the owl met a fox, and the latter bragged about his intelligence and cleverness, and said that he was very cunning and slim. The owl asked him, "Brother mine, how many minds (wits) have you?" "Seven," he said, boastingly. "No wonder you are so clever, I have only one," said the owl.
A short time afterwards the owl again met the fox, but this time he was running for his life. The hunters were after him, and the hounds were trying to catch him.
Running as fast as his legs could carry him, he at last managed to slip into a hole. The owl followed him, and seeing him there, exhausted, asked him, "How many minds (wits) have you?" And he replied, "Six, I have lost one by the chase."
Meanwhile the hunters and dogs came nearer and nearer, so they could hear the baying of the dogs. The fox did not know what to do. The owl asked him, "How many minds (wits) have you now, old fellow?"
"Oh, I have lost all my minds (wits). I have none left."
"Where is your cunning of which you bragged?"
"It is not kind of you, now, to go for a poor fellow when the dogs are at his heels and there is no escape for him."
"Well," said the owl, "I have but one mind (wit), and I will see whether I cannot save you with my one wit. It is my turn. I am going to lie down here at the entrance as though dead. When the hunters come, they will see me and get hold of me and talk about me. Meanwhile they will forget you, and in the midst of the trouble you just dash out and run for your life."
It happened just as the owl had said.
No sooner did the hunters come up and find the owl than they said, "What is this ugly bird doing here? and a dead owl to boot"; and whilst they were busy with the owl trying to get hold of it to throw it away, off went the fox through them and escaped.
Soon afterwards the owl met him again and she said, "How have your seven minds (wits) helped you when in time of danger? It is like that with people who have too much, they often have nothing when they want it most, but you see I had only one mind (wit), but a strong one and not a dissolute one like yours, and that saved both you and me."