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The Fox And The Bear

Ukrainian Folktales: Fox set to work and planted some carrots. She weeded the beds and she watched over the carrots and tended them, and when they were ripe she dug them out...

Author: Volodimir Boyko > Translated by Irina Zheleznova

Last Updated On: Saturday, April 7, 2007

 
 
 

One day, seeing the Bear in his kitchen garden, the Fox came up to him and said:

"Please, Bear, do let me use your kitchen garden. I would so like to plant some turnips there."

"But how will we divide them once you've grown them?" the Bear asked.

"You'll take the tops and I'll take the roots."

To this the Bear agreed, and the Fox planted some turnips.

They grew and grew and when they were ripe she dug them out and said to the Bear:

"Come, now, Bear, let us divide the turnips. You take your tops, and I'll take my roots."

The Bear took the tops, but he soon saw that he had got the worse of the bargain, for they could neither be eaten nor put to any use. He began digging up the ground to see if anything of the turnips was left there, but found nothing and was very angry indeed.

"You have tricked me, Fox!" he roared. "Don't you ask me for any favors next year."

But no sooner had summer come round again tan there was the Fox begging the Bear to let her share his kitchen garden.

"I would like to plant some poppies there," she said.

They began dividing them, and the tops went to the Fox and the roots to the Bear.

Only one little flower was left for the Bear, and he shook the seeds out on to his paw and thrust them into his mouth.

"You have tricked me again, you wicked Fox!" he roared, for he was very angry indeed. "You wait, you won't get anything from me next time!"

But the third summer came round, and there was the Fox again begging the Bear to let her share his kitchen garden.

"I am still angry with you for the way you behaved last summer and the summer before, Sister Fox," the Bear said. "Why, I got nothing at all in return for my kindness."

"Please, Brother Bear, let bygones be bygones."

"Oh, all right, then, but this time I'll take the tops of whatever it is you plant."

"Very well!"

The Fox set to work and planted some carrots. She weeded the beds and she watched over the carrots and tended them, and when they were ripe she dug them out.

"Come, Brother Bear, let us divide the carrots," said she.

She cut off the tops and gave them to him and she took the roots for herself. And the Bear was so angry with her that he got into his cart and drove off without a word.