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Originally Published ByWilliam Heinemann, London
Resurrected ByAbela Publishing, London
Folk Tales of Fantastic Beasts and Men
Typographical arrangement of this edition
© Abela Publishing 2018
This book may not be reproduced in its current format in any manner in any media, or transmitted by any means whatsoever, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, or mechanical ( including photocopy, file or video recording, internet web sites, blogs, wikis, or any other information storage and retrieval system) except as permitted by law without the prior written permission of the publisher.
“He Tore A Rib From His Side And Cut Off My Ear”
Ups And Downs
The Three Monkeys
How The Goldfinch Got His Colours
The Cock And The Fox
The Most Cunning Animal
Sponsken And The Giant
Why Cats Always Wash After Eating
The Choristers Of St. Gudule
The Trial Of Reynard The Fox
The Magic Cap
The Peasant And His Ass
The King Of The Birds
A Drum Full Of Bees
The Drunken Rooks
The Battle Of The Birds And Beasts
The End Of The World
The Reward Of The World
One Bad Turn Begets Another
The Peasant And The Satyrs
The Two Friends And The Barrel Of Grease
Why The Bear Has A Stumpy Tail
The Witch’s Cat
“He tore a rib from his side and cut off my ear”
“I hope you will enjoy your drink. Good-bye!
All the Birds were very proud of their Appearance
“What else can I do!” asked Chanticleer
The Trial of Reynard the Fox
“You have merited death a hundred times”
Jan and Jannette
Birds going to the Race
The Battle of the Birds and Beasts
An immense Dragon lying by the Water-side
The Satyrs’ Village
“All you have to do is to sit on the ice”
IN BLACK AND WHITE
There he met Mistress Goat
The Farmer put her in the Fold
Up and Down
Little James got pushed over the Side
“Pull, brother, pull, and we’ll soon have him out”
He happened to look in the Mirror
The Angel whose Mission it was to colour the Birds
He took a Place among the most Beautiful of them all
Song of Gratitude
The Fox was not a little frightened
“Don’t go away, my dear friend,” said the Fox
“That is true,” said the Cock to himself
The Soldier, the Fox, and the Bear
There was a Flash, a loud Report....
The two Heroes of the Story
Sponsken, the Giant, and the Princess
He tossed the Bird into the Air
“The three animals are a bear, a unicorn, and a wild boar”
The Bear followed him into the Hollow Trunk
With a mighty Crash he ran full tilt into the Tree
Sponsken, the Princess, the Giant
All the Attendants fled at once
Married a Girl
The Cat and the Sparrow
“I’ve just been turned out of house”
“They laugh at me”
“Hush!” said Chanticleer
Breaking the Glass to Smithereens
The Robbers lost no Time in decamping
At the Head of the Procession marched Chanticleer
The Fox’s Château
The poor Beast roared with Pain
He immediately called a Council of his Ministers
”Take me to this house”
“Tybert and Bruin are badly knocked about”
“And caused him to jump at least twenty feet into the air”
“I was mischievous and unruly”
“And pearls too?” she whispered
“I saw him stop at the foot of a great tree”
The Conspiracy gained Adherents every Day
The Suit of Golden Armour Emrik wore
They walked in Silence
Reynard sprang at his Throat
The King of that Land caught him
Calf and Goat
“You were being made a fool of”
Jan and the Three Students
Twirled the Cap round Three Times on his Finger
And dipped them into the Horse-trough
Were carried safely over to the other Bank
“Gr-r-r, I’ll eat them up!”
Jaco Peter and his Friend
“Smear yourself from head to foot”
Reynard seized the Opportunity to warn his Friend
An Exclamation of Astonishment
Away went the Coaches
“Oh dear me, that’s twice!”
“Hallo, my man,” cried the Lord
“I can’t get up, because I’m dead!”
Sent him sprawling from Top to Bottom of the Stairs
The Eagle and the Kinglet
“Is our king then only to be looked at?”
There was the Sound as of a rushing mighty Wind
He is known as the Kinglet
There was a Knot-hole in the wooden Floor
“I did not hear you knock”
The Swarm of Bees within began to buzz about in Great Commotion
Beating another Tattoo upon the Drum
The Beadle, too, stumbled and fell
He had faithfully carried out all his Instructions
It was the Labourer dressed in the Drummer’s Clothes
Rode straight into a Marsh
When the Fifty Rooks began to fly he could not get Free
The Kinglet warned him to be very careful not to buzz
The Great Offensive began
The Cat rushed out of the Room
The Cat, the Dog, the Cock, the Rabbit, and the Goose
“See if you can espy a house”
“Jump on to my beautiful curly tail”
The other Four got on to the Dog’s Back
Sent me flying through the Air
“My sight is so weak and my powers so feeble”
“Does the dragon mind getting under the stone again?”
Nothing was left of the Fishes
The biggest and fattest Fish
Stretched himself out at full length
“I willingly give you yours!”
“Why are you blowing your soup?”
“There is no place in my house for a man who can blow hot and cold”
The Two Friends
“Where has all our grease gone?”
Begun, Half-done, All-done
Mrs. Bruin and Reynard
“After a time the fish will come to bite at it”
“One, two, three...!”
Born with a little stumpy Tail
Margot and the Cat
She meant to keep her there until she had grown Bigger and Fatter
Paddling with her Broom
He was really a Prince
There He Met Mistress Goat
he summer had been very hot. Not a drop of rain had fallen for many weeks, and there was drought in the valley where the animals lived. The streams had dried up and the springs had ceased to flow. Master Fox took up his pipe and went out to take a walk under the lime-trees to think things over. There he met Mistress Goat, all dressed up in her Sunday clothes.
“Good morrow, cousin,” said he. “You are very fine to-day.”
“Yes,” she answered, “I put on my best dress because it helps me to think. What we are to do for water I do not know. We have finished all that we had in the barrel, and unless we can find some more very quickly I and my children will die of thirst.”
“To tell you the truth,” said the Fox, “I was thinking the same thing. I am so dry that my tongue is sticking to the roof of my mouth, and I cannot even smoke my pipe with pleasure. What do you say to going together in search of water? Four eyes are better than two, any day in the week.”
“Agreed,” said the Goat; and away they started together. For a long time they looked everywhere, but not a trace of water could they find. All of a sudden the Goat gave a cry of joy, and running up to her the Fox saw that she had discovered a well, on the brink of which she was standing gazing at the cool water far below.
“Hurrah!” cried the Fox. “We are saved!”
“Yes,” answered the Goat, “but see how far down the water is! How are we to get at it!”
“You just leave that to me,” said the Fox. “I know all about wells—I’ve seen them before. All one has to do is to get into the bucket which is hanging by the rope and descend as smoothly and as safely as you please. I’ll go first, just to show you the way.”
“I HOPE YOU WILL ENJOY YOUR DRINK. GOOD-BYE!”
So the Fox got into the bucket, and the weight of him caused it to descend, while the empty bucket at the other end of the rope rose to the top of the well. A minute afterwards he was at the bottom, leaning over the side of the pail and greedily lapping up the water. Nothing had ever tasted so delicious. He drank and drank until he could hold no more.
“Is it good?” cried Mrs. Goat from above, dancing with impatience.
“It is like the purest nectar!” answered the Fox. “Get into the bucket quickly and come down and join me.”
So the goat stepped into the bucket, which immediately began to descend with her weight, while at the same time the bucket with Master Fox in it began to rise to the surface. The two met half-way.
“How is this?” asked Mrs. Goat in surprise. “I thought you were going to wait for me!”
“Ah, my dear friend,” answered Reynard with a wicked grin, “it is the way of the world. Some go up and some go down. I hope you will enjoy your drink. Good-bye!”
And as soon as he got to the top he jumped out of the bucket and ran off at top speed.
THE FARMER PUT HER IN THE FOLD
So poor Mrs. Goat had to stay there at the bottom of the well until the farmer came and found her, half dead with cold. When at last she was rescued she found that she had only exchanged one prison for another, for the farmer put her into the fold with his own sheep and goats, and so she lost her liberty forever.
here were once three monkeys who were going for a voyage in a balloon. (This was in Monkey-land, far, far away and ever so long ago.) The three were so much alike that it was impossible to tell one from the other, and to make matters worse each of them answered to the name of James. Such a thing would never do in the crew of a balloon, so the old monkey who was in command decided that each of the three should have a different name. The first was to be called James, the second Jemmy, and the third Little James.
So far so good. The three monkeys climbed into the balloon, the ground ropes were untied, and the voyage was begun. When they had reached a height of some hundreds of feet, the captain wished to give an order, so he called to the first monkey: “James!”
“Aye aye, sir,” said all the three, running up to him.
“I called James,” said the captain, looking from one to the other.
“Well, I am James,” answered the first monkey.
“No, no. James is my name,” said the second.
“And mine too,” said the third.
“How can you be James if I am he?” cried the first angrily.
“I tell you James is my name!” cried the second.
And so the three monkeys began to quarrel and dispute. Words led to blows, and soon they were tumbling about all over the car of the balloon, biting, scratching, and pummelling while the captain sat in his chair and bawled to them to stop. Every minute it seemed as though the car would overturn, and the end of it was that Little James got pushed over the side. He turned a beautiful somersault, and fell down, down, down through the air, landing in a soft bed of mud, into which he sank so that only his face and the top of his yellow cranium were visible.
“Help! help!” bawled Little James at the top of his voice.
Up ran a pair of monkeys belonging to the neighbourhood and stood looking at him.
“He’s in the mud, brother,” said one.
“Up to his neck,” said the other. “How silly!” And they both began to grin.
“Help!” cried Little James again, more faintly, for he was sinking deeper, and the mud was nearly at the level of his mouth. “Pull me out! Pull me out!”
“Ah, but how?” asked the first monkey, looking at him gravely.
“Wait a minute,” cried the second, “I have an idea!” and he pulled out of his pocket one of those leather suckers on a string which boys use to lift stones. Moistening the disc, he clapped it on to Little James’s head, and began to tug on the cord with all his might.
“Hey!” cried the other monkey, running to help. “Pull, brother, pull, and we’ll soon have him out!”
LITTLE JAMES GOT PUSHED OVER THE SIDE
Crack! The cord snapped suddenly, and the two monkeys tumbled head over heels. Never mind; they got another cord to repair the damage, and this time they succeeded in pulling Little James clear of the mud.
Did I say Little James? Alas! it was only half of him! His rescuers had pulled so hard that he had broken off short in the middle, and his two legs were left embedded in the mud.
“Dear me!” said the first monkey, scratching his head. “This is very sad. The poor fellow has lost his legs. What shall we do?”
“Let us make him some wooden ones!” said the other.
“PULL, BROTHER, PULL, AND WE’LL SOON HAVE HIM OUT”
So said, so done. They made him a beautiful pair of wooden legs, and Little James hobbled painfully home. By the time he reached his house he felt so ill that he went straight to bed. “I believe I am going to die,” he said to himself. “I must make my will and set down the cause of my death.”
So he sent for pen and paper and began to write. Before very long, however, he stopped and began to scratch his head in perplexity. “If I am going to die,” he thought, “I must be going to die of something! Now, what am I going to die of? This must be carefully considered, for above all one must write the truth in one’s last testament!”
So he pondered and pondered, but he could not make up his mind as to the cause of his death. Was he going to die of the fall from the balloon, or of his broken legs, or what? Just then he happened to look in the mirror by the bedside, and saw that there was a lump on his forehead, which he had got while fighting with James and Jemmy in the balloon.
“Why, of course,” cried he, “I am going to die of that big bruise on my forehead!” So he wrote it down in his will, and then, happy at having solved the difficulty, turned over on his side and died.
And, as I said before, this all took place in Monkey-land, ever so long ago.
When the Angel whose mission it was to colour the birds had finished his work, he began to scrape his palette and to make ready for departure. He had done his task well, for the plumage of the feathered creatures all around him glowed with a thousand glorious colours.
THE ANGEL WHOSE MISSION IT WAS TO COLOUR THE BIRDS
There was the lordly eagle, arrayed in a robe of golden brown. The peacock had a tail of shimmering blue and green that looked as if it were studded with precious stones. The crow’s black coat shone in the sun with a kind of steely radiance, very wonderful to behold. The canary was as yellow as a buttercup; the jay had a spot of blue sky on either wing; even the humble sparrow wore a handsome black neck-tie; while Chanticleer, the cock, was resplendent in yellow, black, and red. All the birds were very proud of their appearance, and they strutted about here and there, gazing at their reflections in the water and calling upon their neighbours to come and admire their beauties.
Alone among the birds the little goldfinch took no part in the rejoicing. Somehow or other the Angel had overlooked him, so that he remained uncoloured, a drab little creature, in his sober grey dress, among the gaily clothed throng. More than once he had tried to draw the Angel’s attention to himself, and now, seeing him cleaning his palette in readiness to depart, he stepped forward and said: “Have pity on me, good Angel, and paint my plumage as you have painted that of the others, so that I may walk among them unashamed. I have nothing to commend me—no beautiful song like the nightingale or the throstle, no grace of form such as the swallows have. If I am to go unadorned, nothing remains for me but to hide myself among the leaves.”
He took a Place among the most Beautiful of them all
Then the Angel took pity on the little creature, and would gladly have painted him with glowing colours, but alas, he had scraped his palette clean. Therefore he took up a brush, and going from bird to bird took from each a spot of colour, which he laid upon the goldfinch, blending a score of brilliant hues with marvellous skill. When he had finished, the tiny bird was transformed, and from being the saddest in that brilliant company he took a place among the most beautiful of them all.
It is not possible, by means of words, to describe the beauty of the colouring which the Angel gave to the goldfinch, but you may see him any day you like, sitting on a thistle, and chirping his song of gratitude and praise.
ALL THE BIRDS WERE VERY PROUD OF THEIR APPEARANCE
The Fox was not a little frightened
his is the story that the old woman who was called Tante Sannie told to the little boy who would always be talking:
A long time ago (she said) there lived in a farmyard a Cock who was very proud of himself, and with reason, too, for he was, indeed, a plump and handsome bird. Nothing could have been finer than his appearance when he strutted through the yard, lifting his feet high as he walked, and nodding his head at each step. He had a magnificent comb of coral-red, and blue-black plumage streaked with gold, which shone so brilliantly when the sun flashed on it that it was a joy to see him. No wonder that his twenty wives gazed at him admiringly and followed him wherever he went, and were quite content to let him hustle them about and gobble up all the fattest worms and the finest grains of corn.
If this Cock was proud of his appearance, there was one thing of which he was even prouder, and that was his voice. He was a famous songster; he could crow you high and he could crow you low; he could utter tones as deep as the pealing of the organ in church or as shrill as the blast of a trumpet. Every morning, when the first streak of dawn appeared in the sky, he would get down off his perch, raise himself on his toes, stretch out his neck, close his eyes and crow so loudly that he roused people who were sleeping in the next parish. And this he loved to do, because it was his nature.
Now in the forest close to the farmyard there lived a Fox who had often gazed with longing eyes upon the plump and handsome bird. His mouth watered every time he thought of him, and many were the artful tricks he played to try and catch him for his dinner. One day he hid himself among the bushes in the garden by the farmyard and waited patiently until the Cock happened to stray his way. After a time the bird came along, pecking here and pecking there, wandered through the gate into the garden, and made straight for the bush under which Master Fox was hidden. He was just going to run into the bush after a butterfly which was fluttering about, when he caught sight of Reynard’s black snout and cunning, watchful eyes, and with a squeak of alarm he jumped aside, just in time, and hopped on to the wall.
At this the Fox rose to his feet. “Don’t go away, my dear friend,” said he in honeyed tones. “I would not for the world do you any harm. I know that it is my bad fortune to be disliked by your family—I can’t for the life of me think why, and it is a pity, because I have to hide myself for the pleasure of hearing you sing. There is no cock in all these parts has such a magnificent voice as yours, and I simply do not believe the stories they tell about you.”
“Eh, what is that?” said the Cock, stopping at a safe distance and looking at the Fox with his head on one side. “What do they say?”
“Why,” Reynard went on, edging a little nearer, “they tell me that you can only crow with your eyes open. They say that if you were to shut your eyes, that clarion call of yours would become only a feeble piping, like the clucking of a new-born chick. But of course I don’t believe them. Anyone can see they are merely jealous.”
“I should think so,” cried the Cock, bristling with anger. “Crow with my eyes shut, indeed! Why, I never crow in any other way. Just look here—I’ll prove it to you!” And he raised himself on his toes, stretched out his neck, closed his eyes, and was just going to crow, when, Snap! the Fox sprang upon him and caught him in his teeth!
Then began a great to-do! The poor cock flapped his wings and struggled as the Fox ran off with him. The hens ran about the yard clucking and squawking, and the noise they made alarmed the farmer’s wife, who was cooking in the kitchen. Out she came running, with the rolling-pin in her hand, and, seeing the fox with the cock in his mouth, gave chase, shrieking as she ran. The farm-hands tumbled out of barn and byre armed with pitch-forks, spades, and sticks. All the beasts began to raise a clatter, and what with the shouting of the men, the squealing of the pigs, the neighing of the horses, and the lowing of the cows, to say nothing of the clucking of the hens and the old woman’s screaming, one would have thought the end of the world was at hand.
The Fox was not a little frightened by all this clatter, but he was not so frightened as the Cock, who saw that only cunning would save his life.
“They will catch us in a minute,” he said to the Fox, “and, as likely as not, we shall both be killed by a single blow.
“DON’T GO AWAY, MY DEAR FRIEND,” SAID THE FOX
Why don’t you call out and tell them I came with you of my own accord?”
“A good idea,” thought the Fox, and he opened his mouth to call out to his pursuers, thereby loosening his grip on the Cock’s neck. Then, with a squirm and a twist and a flutter of his wings, the wily bird wrenched himself free and flew up to the branches of a tree nearby.
The Fox cast a look at him and saw that he was out of reach; then he glanced over his shoulder at his pursuers, who were getting perilously near. “It seems to me,” he said, grinning with rage, “I should have done better to hold my tongue.”
“That is true,” said the Cock to himself as he smoothed his ruffled feathers. “And I would have been better advised to keep my weather-eye open.”
The Soldier, the Fox, and the Bear
ne day the Fox and the Bear began to argue as to which was the most cunning animal. The Bear said that he thought foxes and bears took first place.
“You are wrong, my friend,” said Reynard. “We are clever, you and I, but there is one animal that is as far above us as we are above the rest of creation.”
“Oh, indeed,” sneered the Bear, “and what is the name of this marvellous creature?”
“He is called the man-animal,” answered Reynard, “and he goes on two legs instead of four, which is a wonderful thing in itself. Here are some of the cunning things he can do; first, he can swim in the water without getting wet; when he is cold he makes yellow flowers grow out of sticks to warm himself; and he can strike at an enemy a hundred yards away!”