Foxfeather (foxfeather) wrote,

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A story I used to enjoy telling, when I was a bard:

One day Fox was out walking along. He'd been hunting but had no luck. It was a long time since he'd eaten. His stomach was growling so loudly he could hardly hear anything else.

Suddenly he realized someone was coming singing a song. Quicker than the flick of a horse’s tail, Fox leapt off the path and crouched down on his belly in the bushes

Louder and louder grew the song. Then Fox saw something begin to appear over the crest of the hill. It was a feather plume. Fox moved his front paws, getting ready to leap out at the bird he thought the feather was attached to.

But as the feather lifted higher and higher, he realized it was no bird at all. It was the feather attached to the top of a metal helm, which was attached to a fearsome looking warrior.
If he sees me, Fox thought, I can forget about my hunger forever! It was well known that fox furs were prized by humans. Fox shivered and tried to make himself smaller than a mouse, hoping he wouldn't be seen.

Closer and closer the man came. He was wearing fine clothes and Fox could hear the words of man's song very clearly now. It was a boasting song.

“No one is braver than ShiningSword," sang the young man
”And I should know that for I am he. No one wears finer clothing. No one is a better hunter. If you doubt this, look and see."

He was on his way to the apartment of a young woman he had been watching for some time. He was going to try to impress and then she would fall in love with him. A sure thing, he thought! His song and his fine clothing were part of the plan.

But Fox was no longer listening to ShiningSword’s song. He was not seeing those fine clothes. All of Fox's attention was on what he was smelling. Meat! That large pouch hanging from the young man's leather belt was full of fried chicken!

Fox's mouth watered and his tongue hung out. It had been such a long time since he had eaten chicken. His fears left him. The young man passed him by, but Fox's thoughts were far ahead.
Yes, Fox said to himself. I think there is a way. As quickly as he could, he ran along through the woods keeping out of sight of the road. Soon he was ahead of the man. Just around a bend, Fox laid himself down by the edge of the path.

He closed his eyes and opened his mouth so that his tongue hung out in the dirt. Not moving a muscle, he waited. Soon he began to hear ShiningSword's boasting song.

ShiningSword was so intent on his singing, trying to find a few more words to describe just how fine he looked in his Armani suit that he almost walked right past Fox. When he saw Fox out of the corner of his eye, he stopped. "Enh," he said, "what is this?"

A dead fox?" Picking up a long stick he carefully prodded the side of the animal. It did not move. "It is surely dead." He bent down and looked at it closely. It was skinny, but the pelt was in fine condition.

He picked it up by the tail. "Hmm, it has not been dead for long. It only stinks a little bit." When he said that, Fox's mouth opened a little and his lips curled back from his teeth, but ShiningSword did not notice.

Hmm," ShiningSword said, "maybe I should skin it out now." When he said that one of Fox's eyes twitched a little, but ShiningSword did not notice. "Neh," he went on, "I should not skin him out now. If I do I may dirty my fine new suitcoat. I will just take him with me." He unlaced his pouch.

He smiled, "when my beautiful Laurel sees this fox I caught she will know I am a great hunter. Then she will surely marry me. He dropped the fox in with his chicken, laced the pouch shut and began walking again. Soon he was singing again. This time it was a song about how great a hunter ShiningSword was.

Inside the pouch Fox lay still for a few minutes. Then he began to gnaw at the side. When he had made a hole large enough, he began to drop the chicken pieces out, one by one. Finally, when all the chicken was gone, he made the hole larger and jumped out to freedom and his best meal in many days.

Too busy with his singing, ShiningSword did not even notice. He walked all the way to the town where his sweet Laurel lived He stopped in front of her stoop and stood there, singing till many people had gathered around.

He sang of his beautiful armor, of the many fried chickens he caught (he actually bought them on Ebay), of all monsters he defeated. Laurel came out of the building and watched as he reached back for his pouch. Now he would show them just how good he was!

When he held up pouch and saw that it was empty with a hole in the bottom he stopped singing. Turning around, he ran back off the way he came, humiliated. He learned that day that boasting songs do not make a person great.

It is one thing to find a fox and another skin it.
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