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´╗┐Title: The Comical Creatures from Wurtemberg - Second Edition
Author: Unknown
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Comical Creatures from Wurtemberg - Second Edition" ***

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produced from images generously made available by The
University of Florida, The Internet Archive/Children's
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       *       *       *       *       *
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       *       *       *       *       *

The

COMICAL CREATURES

from

WURTEMBERG.



_From the EXAMINER, August 2d._

"The title-page of this agreeable little volume sufficiently commends
its pleasant contents. To whom, old or young, will it not be welcome?
Who has not, young or old, seen, laughed at, revisited, and brought
away, pleasant recollections of the Stuffed Animals from the Zollverein?

"It was a good notion, that of perpetuating these clever productions by
means of daguerreotype and wood-engraving. They are very nicely executed
in this volume, and wonderfully like. It is needless to particularise
where all is so graphic and faithful; but let the studious little rabbit
over his arithmetic lesson at p. 32, with that demure conscience-striken
pair behind him wincing at the flogging of their idle brother, be
especially admired.

"We must add that the letterpress is not unworthy of the humour and
fidelity of the illustrations. The various Weasels, Rabbits, and Foxes,
are brought into one little tale; the Wonderful Hare-Hunt into another;
the Tea-Party of Kittens, and the Marten and Tabby, into a third; the
Duel of the Dormice, and the Frogs, form two separate and ingenious
anecdotes; and the story of Reynard the Fox is quaintly related in prose
so far as was necessary to explain the six comical groups of Ploucquet.

"We predict a great run at Christmas for the _Comical Creatures from
Wurtemberg_."


_From the MORNING CHRONICLE, August 12th._

"The book is a clever and a pleasant memento of the Great Exhibition.
The drawings are careful and clever, and convey a very correct
representation of the original creatures, with all, or nearly all, their
subtlety of expression and aspect. The capital fatuity of the Rabbits
and Hares, the delightful scoundrelism of the Fox, the cunning
shrewdness of the Marten and Weasels, the hoyden visages of the Kittens,
and the cool, slippery demeanour of the Frogs, are all capitally given.
The book may lie on the drawing-room table, or be thumbed in the
nursery; and in the latter case we have little doubt that many an urchin
still in petticoats will in future years associate his most vivid
recollection of the Great Exhibition of 1851 with Mr. Bogue's
perpetuation of the _Comical Creatures from Wurtemberg_."



  [Illustration: THE WONDERFUL HARE-HUNT.]



  The

  COMICAL CREATURES

  from

  WURTEMBERG,


  _Including the Story of Reynard the Fox._


  With Twenty Illustrations,
  Drawn from the Stuffed Animals contributed by
  Herrmann Ploucquet of Stuttgart
  to the Great Exhibition.


  _Second Edition._


  London:
  DAVID BOGUE, FLEET STREET.
  1851.



PREFACE.


To HERRMANN PLOUCQUET, Preserver of Objects of Natural History
at the Royal Museum of Stuttgart,--the capital of the kingdom of
Wurtemberg,--we are indebted for one of the cleverest and most popular
displays in the GREAT EXHIBITION. Every one, from her Majesty the Queen
down to the least of the charity-boys, hastens to see the Stuffed
Animals from the Zollverein; every one lingers over them and laughs at
them as long as the crowd will allow; and every one talks of them
afterwards with a smile and a pleasing recollection.

That these clever productions of Ploucquet's talent may be long
perpetuated, we have had daguerreotypes of them taken by Mr. Claudet,
and engravings made from them on wood as faithfully like as possible.

We must beg our readers to remember that, excepting "Reynard the Fox,"
our sketches have been written to illustrate the drawings, for on this
plea we claim some indulgence; but as we know full well that the
pictures will be the main attraction of the volume, we are not
apprehensive of much criticism.

The story of "Reynard the Fox" is told briefly in the words of an old
version of this wonderful tale published in England many years ago. In
Germany _Reinecke Fuchs_ is as popular as our "Jack the Giant-Killer."
Carlyle says, "Among the people it was long a house-book and universal
best companion; it has been lectured on in Universities, quoted in
imperial Council-halls; it lay on the toilets of princes, and was
thumbed to pieces on the bench of the artisan: we hear of grave men
ranking it next to their Bible."

Goethe took the story of "Reynard" for the subject of a great poem; and
the famous painter Kaulbach has recently illustrated Goethe's version
with perhaps the finest series of pictures with which a book was ever
adorned.

Herrmann Ploucquet has had the good taste to select six of these designs
as models for his works. He has admirably preserved the expression which
the painter gave to the Fox and his dupes, and every one recognises them
with pleasure.



CONTENTS.
                                                        PAGE

  The Weasels of Holm-Wood                                15
  The Wonderful Hare-Hunt                                 40
  The Duel of the Dormice                                 45
  The Six Kittens                                         49
  The Frogs who would a-wooing go                         59
  The Story of Reynard the Fox                            63



ILLUSTRATIONS.
                                                        PAGE

  The Wonderful Hare-Hunt (Double Plate)       _Frontispiece._
  Dame Weasel and her Family                              14
  The Attentive Physician                                 17
  The _very_ attentive Physician                          21
  Old Marten and Sharp Weasel, Esq.                       25
  Mr. Bantam's Interview with Old Marten                  29
  Longtail teaching the young Rabbits Arithmetic          33
  Jack Hare and Grace Marten leading off the Ball         37
  The Duel of the Dormice                                 44
  The Kittens at Tea--Miss Paulina singing                48
  Ensign Squeaker and Miss Rose                           51
  Young Marten bidding farewell to Miss Paulina           55
  The Frogs who would a-wooing go                         58
  Reynard at Home at Malepardus                           62
  Reynard in the likeness of a Hermit                     65
  Sir Tibert delivering the King's Message                71
  Reynard brings forward the Hare as his Witness          81
  Reynard on his Pilgrimage to Rome                       85
  Reynard attacketh Laprell the Rabbit                    91



  [Illustration: DAME WEASEL AND HER CHILDREN.]

THE

WEASELS OF HOLM-WOOD.


CHAPTER I.

In a pleasant country where green meadows lay stretched by
the side of a broad river whose banks were lined with the
pollard-willow and tall poplar, there once dwelt a family of
Weasels, known, from their place of residence, as the
Weasels of Holm-wood.

Holm-wood was a little island covered with underwood,
rushes, and wild flowers. A few aged trees stood by its
edge, bathing their long arms in the stream, and in the
hollow trunk of one of these the Weasels lived.

Any fine morning you might have seen the mother of this
family carrying her infant in her arms, and followed by her
other children, a girl and two boys, who would amuse
themselves by dragging little wooden horses, playing at
soldiers with mock muskets, running against the wind with
little whirligig mills, or frolicking about with a thousand
of the antics of children. Their father, known every where
as Old Weasel, was of a most resolute and unbending
disposition; he made many enemies, and was ever at war
with one or other of his neighbours. The Partridges of
Clover-field asserted that he sucked their eggs and stole
their young ones; the Rabbits of the Warren held Old Weasel
and all his family in the deepest abhorrence, and accused
them of the greatest cruelties; but no one complained of
them more bitterly than Dame Partlett of the Farm, who
accused the whole tribe of being born enemies of her race,
and said, that were it not that Old Weasel himself was
dreadfully afraid of her neighbour and friend, young Mastiff
of Kennel-wood, she verily believed that she should never
know any peace on earth.

  [Illustration: THE ATTENTIVE PHYSICIAN.]

All the world will understand how, with such a character,
the Weasels had but few friends, and that when Miss Weasel
grew to be of age, she should have but few admirers;
nevertheless two or three families who were related to them
by blood kept up an occasional acquaintance, and among them
the Ferrets of Hollow-oak were the most intimate. Now it so
happened that one evening, when out for a ramble in the
woods, a branch of a tree on which Miss Weasel had mounted
in order to get nearer to young Linnet, with whom she wished
to be on intimate terms, broke suddenly off, and the poor
young lady was precipitated to the ground and sadly hurt.
Her cries brought to her assistance her younger brother Tom,
who, as soon as he had helped her home, ran for young
Ferret, who had lately begun practice as a physician. When
the good young doctor came, he found Miss Weasel lying on
the sofa, looking very pale and very interesting. He felt
her pulse, looked at her tongue, and soon discovered that
the lady was more frightened than hurt. However, as he had
not many patients, he did not choose to tell all the truth,
but prescribing a simple remedy, he ordered her to keep very
quiet, and promised to call again on the next day. Whether
it was that Miss Weasel had been hurt more than her
physician had thought, or whether there were any other
inducements, we cannot say; but young Ferret thought it his
duty to call at Holm-wood every morning, and sometimes twice
a day, for at least a month: and if any one could have seen
how frequently he felt Miss Weasel's pulse, and how
anxiously he studied every expression of her face, he would
have set down Dr. Ferret as a very attentive at least, if
not excellent physician.

When Miss Weasel became somewhat stronger, this good young
man would lend his arm for her support during an evening
walk, would bring her birds' eggs and other delicacies, and
in many ways endeavour to contribute to her restoration to
health.

This went on for some time, till the gossips of the
neighbouring village would smile whenever they saw the
doctor wending his way towards Holm-wood; and Miss Weasel's
two brothers would immediately leave their lessons, which
their sister used to teach them, as soon as ever the
physician appeared in sight.


  [Illustration: THE _VERY_ ATTENTIVE PHYSICIAN.]

CHAPTER II.

The other relations of the Weasels who were on visiting
terms with them were, the Polecats of The Grange, who came
but seldom, and the Martens of Forest-farm, with whom they
were more intimate. Now old Mr. Marten had always intended
that his own son Longtail, who kept a boarding-school for
boys near the Warren, should marry Miss Weasel; and when he
heard of the physician's great attentions to that young
lady, he was very wroth. At first he thought of way-laying
young Ferret in the wood and killing him; but then he
recollected that the Ferrets were a powerful family, who
would never rest till they had been revenged. His next
thought was to go to his attorney, Sharp Weasel, Esq., of
Nettle Cottage, and consult with him as to the best means of
thwarting young Ferret's projects. So the old man took down
his pipe and his account-book, and set off to the attorney.

Mr. Sharp Weasel was well pleased to see so excellent a
client as old Mr. Marten, and received him with many smiles.
The two quickly laid down a plan of proceedings, and Mr.
Marten produced his account-book, and proved that young
Ferret owed him for the following goods sold and delivered,
viz. one young rabbit; item, one wood-pigeon; item, one
brace of partridges; item, one cock-pheasant; item, one
duckling; item, one fat gosling.

For this account young Ferret was next day summoned before
Judge Fox, who, after hearing the case, immediately gave
judgment in favour of plaintiff; and as young Ferret had not
sufficient funds to meet this unexpected demand, he was
forthwith arrested and sent to prison.

Old Mr. Marten chuckled and was well pleased at the success
of his stratagem, and was on his way to his son Longtail to
tell him of what he considered the good news, when he met
Mr. Bantam of Holm-farm, searching for his wife and
daughters, who had wandered for a walk. Bantam, it was
evident, did not particularly wish for this meeting, for his
comb grew very red, and he strutted off at a quick pace in
an opposite direction; but old Marten ran through some
bushes, and caught him just as he was getting clear of the
wood.

  [Illustration: OLD MARTEN AND SHARP WEASEL, ESQ.]

"Good morning, Mr. Bantam," said he.

"Good morning, sir," said Bantam, shaking in every feather.

"I want you to do me a service, Bantam," continued old
Marten; "but you must not say one word of what I am going to
tell you."

Bantam promised this, as indeed he would have any thing
else.

"You must go to Old Weasel of Holm-wood," whispered Marten,
laying his forepaws on Bantam's breast to hold him near him,
"and find his daughter. Tell her that young Ferret is a
scapegrace and a good-for-nothing fellow, and that Judge Fox
has sent him to prison. Then tell her that I am very rich,
and that my son Longtail is making a handsome fortune by his
school. This is a delicate matter, Bantam: if you manage
cleverly, I will be your friend through life; if you betray
me, mark this." And the old man clapped his paw on the
cutlass he usually wore by his side.

Bantam, glad to get out of his clutches on any terms,
promised the strictest compliance, and flew rather than ran
back to his farmyard as soon as he was released. There the
first person he saw was his wife, who had returned, and was
wondering what had become of him. To her, of course, he told
all his strange adventure, and she, silly thing, went
immediately and cackled the whole story to Dame Goose; who
told it to one of the young Goslings, who told it to old
Mr. Drake; he quacked it about so loudly that his wife and
children soon learned it; and in ten minutes there was not
one in all Holm-farm who did not know of this wonderful
adventure. As for performing his promise, we must do Mr.
Bantam the credit of saying he never for a moment thought of
being such a silly, for he well knew that the day which saw
him enter Old Weasel's house would be his last.


  [Illustration: MR. BANTAM'S INTERVIEW WITH OLD MARTEN.]

CHAPTER III.

After old Marten had let Bantam go, he himself went straight
to his son, whom he found engaged in his professional
pursuits. At the moment of his father's entry, young
Longtail was hearing a class of the young Rabbits, on one of
whom he was inflicting summary chastisement for great
neglect and carelessness in his arithmetic. The poor young
fellow was squeaking terribly, and his three brothers, with
tears in their eyes, were trying with all their might to
cast up their sums on their slates, which shook so in
their hands that they could scarce see the figures. Their
master left off the beating when he saw his father, and
consequently young Rabbit, for the first and perhaps only
time in his life, was very glad to see the old man. The
class was dismissed; and if you had seen these four
youngsters scamper off, shaking their white tails and
jumping half a yard high as they ran to the Warren,
you would have thought it was a good thing to have the
light-heartedness of children.

The Martens, father and son, retired up an oak-tree, at the
old man's request, to talk over their private affairs. When
the son heard of his father's plans, and how young Ferret
had been arrested, he was struck dumb with amazement. He had
never dreamed that his father would interfere in such a
matter; and if the truth must be told, he was already
engaged to Miss Pussy, the eldest daughter of old Mrs. Hare
of the Ferns.

However, he knew better than to contradict his father's
intentions too suddenly, for he felt assured that the old
man would cut him off with a shilling if he were to offend
him; so he pretended to acquiesce in all that was said,
and promised compliance in every particular.

But as soon as his father had bidden him farewell, and
had got out of sight, young Longtail ran as fast as his
legs would carry him to the cavern where the doctor was
imprisoned, paid the amount of the debt for which he had
been arrested, and took young Ferret home with him to
consult about their future conduct.

  [Illustration: LONGTAIL TEACHING THE YOUNG RABBITS
    ARITHMETIC.]

It would have amused you, could you have heard all the plans
discussed by these young lovers for their joint benefit; how
the one talked of his darling Miss Weasel, and the other of
his dear Miss Pussy; how they agreed that in matters of love
every thing was allowable; and how they swore eternal
friendship to each other throughout their lives.

Two days afterwards it was known all over Holm-wood that the
fair Miss Weasel had eloped with Longtail Marten. Mrs. Goose
and the four Miss Goslings were full of the information for
every one they met. It was the finest piece of scandal they
had known for years. "Only think," said they, "after all her
engagement to young Doctor Ferret, to go and take up with
the schoolmaster; and all, forsooth, because Old Marten is
rich!"

But scarce had the first news of Miss Weasel's extraordinary
behaviour run through the farm-yard, than old Bantam was
seen hurrying in, very red in the face from over exertion,
and was heard to declare, that he never knew the like of it,
but as sure as he was a living cock, he had met young Ferret
the physician running away with Miss Pussy, the daughter of
old Mrs. Hare of the Ferns. Mrs. Goose turned up the whites
of her eyes and almost fainted. Dame Partlett ran with
all speed, that she might be the first to cackle the
intelligence to Mr. Drake; and the whole island was soon
in a ferment at this wonderful piece of gossip.

Of course, old Mr. Marten soon heard of all this; and so
pleased was he that he immediately altered his will,
doubling the amount he had previously given to his dear boy
Longtail, and getting so extremely excited at the "Huntsman
and Hounds" on the same afternoon, that, sad to relate, he
was untimely carried off by an effusion of blood.

And what think you became of the lovers? Why, the very day
all this commotion happened at Holm-wood the two pair met at
their aunt's, old Mrs. Stoat's, of Four-mile Cross, as they
had agreed. There the young fellows, overjoyed at the
success of their scheme, changed their fair partners, and,
to complete their happiness, immediately set out for a tour
on the neighbouring Continent.

There, on fine summer evenings, you might often have seen
the doctor and his beloved quietly strolling by wood-sides
and along the banks of the green meadows, listening intently
to the warbling of the tender birds they loved so much;
while young Longtail Marten and his bride, fonder of more
boisterous excitement, devoted themselves to the pleasures
of the chase, scouring rapidly over hill and dale whenever
they heard the huntsman's loud horn, or the hounds' deeper
notes; and never so happy as when, after the sports of the
day were done, they finished up with a ball, and danced
joyously till the next day's dawn.

  [Illustration: JACK HARE AND GRACE MARTEN LEADING OFF
    THE BALL.]

As for the good folks at Holm-wood, as soon as Mrs. Hare
discovered that her daughter had run away, she sent for her
eldest son, Jack Hare, who lived in a farm close by, and
asked him to pursue his sister and bring her back; but Jack
said she was quite old enough to know her own mind, and that
he would have nothing to do with it. When, however, the old
lady learned that her daughter was married to the rich young
Marten, and not to the poor physician, then she was greatly
rejoiced, though she confessed she could not make out why
her dear child Pussy should run away with the doctor and
then marry the schoolmaster; but she supposed it was all
right.

As for Jack, when he heard that old Mr. Marten had died,
leaving great riches behind him, he, to follow the fashion,
fell in love with Grace, the only daughter of the deceased,
and only sister of Longtail. Miss Grace listened favourably
to Jack's suit--for she was very lonely now her father was
dead, and her brother away; and as there was no papa to
consult in their case, they got married quietly at home,
and asked all their neighbours to a ball, when Jack Hare and
Grace Marten (that was) led off the polka in grand style,
greatly to the admiration of all the young folks in the
island.



THE WONDERFUL HARE-HUNT.


Merrily sounded the cock's shrill horn, and brightly shone
the early morning sun, when a party of young sportsmen set
out to the field, armed with their guns and game-bags. Four
beaters from the neighbouring village attended them, each
with a long stick to rout the hares and rabbits from their
hiding-places. Gaily went they forth, these merry sportsmen
and their helpers; light was their step across the green
meadows and up the sandy hill-sides; loud was their laughter
when one of them, trying to jump through a broken hedge,
fell into the neighbouring ditch; great was their mirth when
another's gun went off and lamed a squirrel in an adjoining
tree; and joyous was the shout with which they scared a
frightened rabbit from its morning meal.

At last the sportsmen came to the side of a wood, and one of
the beaters reported that just round the corner of the
palings he could see nearly a dozen hares feeding together.
A council of war was summoned; each sportsman looked to the
priming of his gun, and trod with a more cautious step; each
beater bent his head nearly to the ground, and crept along
the grass. A plan of attack was formed; the beaters stole
within the wood to stop the hares that way, while the
sportsmen suddenly appearing on the other side, caused the
poor hares, surrounded as they were, to run into the very
jaws of destruction. They that leaped towards the wood
received blows on their heads from the beaters; they that
ran down the hill met Ponto the dog, who pounced on them
open-mouthed; and they that ran upwards were soon sent
downwards again, toppling head over heels, killed by the
fire of the enemy. Not a hare escaped. The gun-bearers took
deadly aim, and Ponto and the beaters prevented their
flight.

While the young sportsmen and their helpers were yet picking
up the hares and rejoicing at their good fortune, the sky
became quickly overcast, black clouds gathered, and a
hurricane of wind swept through the wood, tearing off large
branches of the trees. The sportsmen stood amazed at the
suddenness of the storm, but presently their amazement was
changed to fear; for, riding in a bright chariot drawn by
six snow-white swans,--blown swiftly by the wind,--there
appeared a lady of fairy-like beauty. At her command the
beautiful birds stayed their flight, and the chariot rested
on the green turf close by the sportsmen.

"Young men," said the lady in a melodious but mournful
voice, as she pointed to the dead hares, "you have murdered
these poor innocents for your sport: know, I am the fairy
called KINDNESS, and these hares were all of them my
friends. In punishment for your cruelty, you sportsmen shall
be changed into Martens, and you attendants into Weasels.
In such shapes you may pursue your cruel sports; you are not
worthy of the forms of men." And, waving her wand, the swans
bore her instantly out of sight.

They who live in this country say that every old
Michaelmas-day, five martens and four weasels, with long
sticks, may still be seen hunting hares near this wood;
sometimes a dog's bark is heard and a shrill whistle, but
if any of mankind appear in their sight, the creatures run
quickly away, and hide themselves in the wood.



  [Illustration: THE DUEL OF THE DORMICE.]

THE DUEL OF THE DORMICE.


Out in the fields, in the hollow of an old willow-tree, two
Dormice slept the whole winter long. They neither ate nor
drank, nor did they so much as raise their heads from their
pillows during all this dreary time. A ray of sunshine, as
the sun passed right over their tree, would perhaps make one
of them stretch out his paws; but as soon as the gleam had
passed and left them, he would curl himself up all the
closer in his nest, and go faster asleep than ever.

But the sun came one bright spring morning, and shone on the
Dormice so warmly, that they turned round in their bed,
stretched their paws, rubbed their eyes, yawned, and at last
woke quite up.

"It is summer-time at last," said the elder Dormouse, as he
took a nut from his store of provisions and cracked it, "and
we may now leave our winter's bed." "I don't believe it,"
replied the younger. "The wind blows cold; I shall go to
sleep again."

"Ah, that's like your laziness," rejoined the elder; "sleep
on; I'm off to the wood." And so saying, he scrambled up the
tree, then down the outside of the trunk, and so into the
wide meadows.

The younger Dormouse went to sleep. He slept for an hour,
then he woke again, and finding his companion gone, he
turned to the food and ate a hearty meal; then he slept
again, but the sun had made his bed too hot: so he presently
woke and made another attack on the provisions; and this he
did the whole day long, until, at evening time, all the corn
and nuts which the two Dormice had so diligently collected
in the autumn, were gone. Soon the moon rose, and the young
one curled himself for sleep.

In the meantime the elder had wandered about the fields;
but the earth was wet, and no corn or fruit was ripe, so at
night he returned to his nest wet and hungry. He ran
straight to the store-room for food; but what was his
surprise when he found nothing left but a few barley-corns!
His cries woke his companion, from whom he demanded the
provisions; the younger one muttered that he knew nothing
about them, and pretended to sleep; but the unfortunate
adventurer, driven to desperation by hunger, flew into a
rage and struck the other with his claws: a fight ensued,
and the whole neighbourhood was alarmed at the outcry.

Two Moles who were passing by the foot of the tree, hearing
this dreadful noise, called out to the combatants to stop.
The Dormice fearing it might be some of the Weasels who
spoke, were silent instantly, and then the Moles bade them
come out.

So the Dormice came down to the Moles; and when the Moles
found that the silly creatures were bent on their quarrel,
they insisted that the combat should be with swords.
Moreover, they offered to play the part of seconds, and to
dig a grave for the vanquished.

To all this the Dormice consented; the Moles found an old
trap, and from the iron parts they fashioned rude swords.
These they measured, and gave to the combatants; and then,
with their long spades in their hands, they awaited the
issue of the affray. It was fierce and desperate. The hungry
one fought with fury, but he who had had a good feast was
the stronger and the calmer: at last the younger one drove
his sword right through the body of the elder; but the elder
at the same moment clove his opponent's head asunder, and so
they fell dead together. And the Moles dug a deep hole, and
buried both the Dormice in the same grave.



  [Illustration: THE KITTENS AT TEA--MISS PAULINA SINGING.]

THE SIX KITTENS.


Once upon a time a cat had six kittens, whom she brought up
in the most genteel manner. No one could say that their
education was in any wise neglected, for besides being
taught the ordinary duties of life by their mother, such as
mouse-hunting, fish-stealing, and bird-catching, they
received instructions in the arts of singing, and playing
the harp and the piano, and were taught to waltz and dance
the polka with every imaginable grace. Now when the kittens
grew to be of age, it was their custom of an afternoon to
spend some hours at tea and intellectual talk. The youngest
always performed the duties of servant, while one of the
elder ones would entertain the rest by playing airs from the
latest opera, or singing a love-song, the music of which she
had herself composed.

It is true some animals who dwelt close by complained of
this music, and called it by all kinds of ill names; but
that is ever the jealous way of the world: and the kittens
frequently performed serenades in their garden by moonlight,
when all who passed by would stay to listen to their melody.

But to our tale. It happened that, one fine summer's
afternoon, when the kittens were all enjoying themselves at
tea; when Paulina, the eldest, was warbling some of her most
delightful songs, and Violet, the second, was entertaining
the rest, in an under tone, with a little bit of scandal
about a neighbouring Tabby, whom she had seen coming home in
a sad condition about five o'clock in the morning, when she,
Miss Violet, was taking her early walk;--just at this moment
there sounded a tap at the door, and presently in came
Diana, the youngest sister, bearing in her hand more cakes
for tea, and in the plate with them a note addressed to Miss
Rose,--the next to Violet in age, and by most people
considered the beauty of the family. Violet took the letter
eagerly from Diana; but when she saw the address, she
remarked that it was evidently a gentleman's handwriting,
and tossing her head somewhat disdainfully, she handed it to
Miss Rose, who blushed very much, and retired with it to the
sofa. Rose opened the note with trembling paws, and a sweet
smile played on her features as she read its contents; then,
carefully folding it up, she observed to her sisters that it
was merely an invitation for a walk, and springing on to the
back of the sofa, she jumped through the open window, and
retired to her own summer-house up a fine sycamore-tree in
the garden.

This incident, as may be imagined, caused a great sensation
among the sisters; and all wondered very much who could have
been the writer of the note that had so evidently pleased
Miss Rose. One hoped it was not from that scapegrace Tom who
lived at the Farm-yard; another feared it might come from
young Marten Sable of the Forest; and Violet demanded of her
youngest sister what sort of person it was who had brought
the note. Diana did not know, but believed it was a relation
of old Mr. Weasel, who belonged to the same farm that Tom
did. This set them all guessing again, for it was well known
that Tom and Old Weasel did not speak to each other: and in
the end they were all just as wise as in the beginning.

  [Illustration: ENSIGN SQUEAKER AND MISS ROSE.]

About seven o'clock the same evening an attentive observer
might have noticed Miss Rose emerging from her door very
quietly, and making the best of her way to the green fields
that bordered the sea-coast close by. An ill-natured person
would have said that Miss Rose had taken especial pains with
her toilet, and that she carried her parasol with a
lack-a-daisical air; but Rose herself, at her last peep in
the glass, had thought that she looked very nicely indeed;
and so it would appear thought Ensign Squeaker (of the
Household Pigade), who, with his regimental sword by his
side, and his pocket telescope in his hand, sauntered along
the pathway, _merely_ to enjoy the beauty of the evening,
and inhale the fresh breezes from the ocean. How it happened
that Young Squeaker and Miss Rose met at the corner of the
cliff, just as the village clock struck the half-past seven,
no one knows; certain only it is that they did meet; and
that after the interchange of the usual compliments, Miss
Rose accepted Mr. Squeaker's proffered arm, and that the
pair wandered about by the sea-shore until the moon rose;
and Miss Rose, in great trepidation at finding it so late,
desired her companion to escort her home. Nor is it known
what Mr. Squeaker said when he bade a fond adieu to his dear
Rose, nor for how long after Rose sat in her arbour in the
garden and watched the bats flitting across the moon.

It was noticed by the sisters that Rose was very quiet all
the next day, and that at times a tear stood in the corner
of her eye, which she would wipe away, sighing. Many were
the sly allusions to the note of the previous afternoon and
the long evening walk, and no one tormented poor Rose with
her insinuations more than Paulina, who was for some cause
in a most unusual flow of spirits. After tea, Rose took down
her treasured volume, "Pussicat's Poems," and retiring to
the garden, read the tenderest parts. Violet, overcome with
the fatigue of a recent mouse-hunt, went to sleep on the
sofa; the younger ones busied themselves with their crochet
and net-work; and Miss Paulina, saying she was going to call
on a neighbour, with her best lace-bordered handkerchief in
her hand, sallied forth and took her way towards the forest.
Now it so happened that young Marten Sable was leaning
against a tree, tapping his heel with his cane, and
meditating very profoundly at the entrance of the very walk
towards which Paulina bent her steps. He started at her
approach, and with a sad but eager countenance ran to meet
her.

"What has happened, Marten," cried Paulina, "that you look
so miserable? tell me directly, I implore you;" and placing
her hand on his arm, she looked piteously in his face.
Marten hung his head and seemed overcome with grief; at last
he said in a low husky voice, "We must part, Paulina; but it
will be only for a time; my father has ordered me to set out
for Russia to visit his forests there, and, my darling
Paulina,--how can I bear the thought!--it will be six months
before I see you again." Paulina covered her face with her
paws and wept bitterly; at last rousing herself, she said,
"Let us not, Marten, spend our last evening thus; come, six
months will soon pass, and then--" Here Paulina's voice
dropped, and Marten threw his arms round her waist and
kissed away the tears.

  [Illustration: YOUNG MARTEN BIDDING FAREWELL TO
    MISS PAULINA.]

We know of every word that Marten said to Paulina, and of
Paulina's every reply, for we had it all from a young
hedgehog whose curiosity led her to listen to their talk;
but we think that the hedgehog did wrong to listen, and so,
perhaps, did we to listen to the hedgehog, and so we will
not tell their secrets; but this, we may mention, that they
wandered up and down the pathways of the forest, now and
then pouncing on a stray field-mouse or a poor sleeping
bird, until the moon shone brightly through the trees. And
we know that they parted at length by the sign-post at the
edge of the wood, when Paulina shed many tears, and Marten,
laying his paw upon his heart, vowed ever to be constant to
her, and in all his travels and all his adventures to
remember his sweet Pussy. To have seen how the poor kitten
wept when she went to bed that night, would have grieved a
hard-hearted terrier; and to have seen how melancholy she
looked as she wandered about for three weeks afterwards,
would have drawn pity from a ferocious bull-dog.

One morning, about seven months after the events we have
narrated, there was a great commotion in the house where the
kittens dwelt; the bells rang, the flags were hoisted, and
little cannon fired. In the papers of the next morning we
read that Ensign Squeaker of the Household Pigade carried
off the beautiful Miss Rose, and young Marten Sable of the
Forest his fair prize Miss Paulina, both on the same day.

May they all enjoy much felicity, and may the brides catch
plenty of mice!



  [Illustration: THE FROGS WHO WOULD A-WOOING GO.]

THE

FROGS WHO WOULD A-WOOING GO.


Two frogs, who were cousins, were hopping about together one
warm summer's evening by the side of a rivulet, when they
began talking--just as the men will talk--about a young
lady-frog who lived in a neighbouring marsh. One extolled
the brightness of her eyes, the other praised the beauty
of her complexion, and somehow the two frogs found out
that they had both fallen in love with the same young
lady-froggy. When they had made this discovery they parted
rather abruptly, and muttered something, the meaning of
which was not very clear.

"Bless me," said Mr. Croaker, the elder and richer of the
two, "I must not let that young scapegrace Jumper get the
better of me. A pretty joke indeed that _he_ should think of
the beautiful Miss Leapfrog, he who is not worth a rap, and
is as ugly as a toad."

"Who would have thought," said Jumper to himself, "that that
old curmudgeon Croaker was going to make love to that dear
young Miss Leapfrog? We will soon see whom she likes best."

The next morning Croaker dressed himself with unusual
neatness; and that he might appear to better advantage, he
went to a barber-frog who lived in a neighbouring arbour,
and asked to be shaved and to have his wig dressed. The
barber had just spread his white cloth, had lathered his
customer's chin, and was flourishing a razor in his face,
when what should catch Croaker's eye through the open
doorway but the figure of his cousin Jumper, smartly
dressed, with his cane under his arm, and a parasol over
his head, to keep the sun off his delicate complexion,
walking hastily along the path that led to Miss Leapfrog's
residence.

To jump from his chair was Croaker's first impulse, and, sad
to say, it was his last; for he fell with his throat upon
the edge of the barber's razor, and in two minutes breathed
his last.

Deep was Miss Leapfrog's grief, and great was Mr. Jumper's
joy, when the news of this sad misfortune reached their
ears. In the first burst of her anguish the young lady
accused the barber of having murdered her dear Croaker; but
Mr. Jumper hopped about for joy, and vowed that the barber
was the best frog alive. And well he might be joyful, for as
Croaker had died without a will, Jumper inherited all his
estates; and when, after a week's mourning, the young lady's
grief had somewhat subsided, the happy Mr. Jumper carried
off the beautiful Miss Leapfrog.

But alas, how uncertain is happiness either to man or
frogs! Two days afterwards, as Jumper was crossing a brook,
a lily-white duck, who had been concealed by the rushes,
flew at him with open beak and gobbled him up.

And the poor bride was left to mourn in silent solitude.



  [Illustration: REYNARD AT HOME AT MALEPARDUS.]

THE STORY

OF

REYNARD THE FOX.


About the feast of Whitsuntide, when the woods were in their
lustyhood and gallantry, when every tree was clothed in the
green and white livery of glorious leaves and sweet-smelling
blossoms, when the earth was covered with her fairest mantle
of flowers, and the sweet birds entertained the groves with
the delight of their harmonious songs, the LION, the Royal
King of Beasts, made solemn proclamation that all quadrupeds
whatsoever should attend his court, and celebrate this great
festival.

Now when the king had assembled all his subjects together,
there was no one absent save Reynard the Fox, against whom
many grievous accusations were laid. First came Isegrim the
Wolf, with all his family and kindred, who, standing before
the King complained loudly how that Reynard had ill-treated
his wife and children. Then there came a little hound named
Curtise, who accused the Fox of having stolen his pudding in
the extreme cold winter-time, when he was nigh dying of
starvation. But scarcely had the hound finished his tale,
when, with a fiery countenance, in sprang Tibert the Cat,
and accused Curtise of having stolen this pudding from
himself, and declared that Reynard had righteously taken it
away.

Then rose the Panther: "Do you imagine, Tibert," quoth he,
"that Reynard ought not to be complained of? The whole world
knows that he is a murderer, a vagabond, and a thief."

Then quoth Grimbard the Badger, Reynard's nephew: "It is a
common proverb, _Malice never spake well_: what can you say
against my kinsman the fox? All these complaints seem to me
to be either absurd or false. Mine uncle is a gentleman,
and cannot endure falsehood. I affirm that he liveth as a
recluse; he chastiseth his body, and weareth a shirt of
hair-cloth. It is above a year since he hath eaten any
flesh; he hath forsaken his castle Malepardus, and abandoned
all his wealth; he lives only upon alms and good men's
charities, doing infinite penance for his sins; so that he
has become pale and lean with praying and fasting."

While Grimbard was still speaking, there came down the hill
Chanticleer the Cock, and with him two hens, who brought
with them on a bier their dead sister Copple, who had just
been murdered by Reynard. Chanticleer smote piteously his
feathers, and, kneeling before the King, spake in this
manner:

  [Illustration: REYNARD IN THE LIKENESS OF A HERMIT.]

"Most merciful and my great Lord the King, vouchsafe, I
beseech you, to hear our complaint, and redress the injuries
which Reynard the Fox has done to me and my children. Not
longer ago than last April, when the weather was fair, and I
was in the height of my pride and glory, because of my eight
valiant sons and seven fair daughters, who were strong and
fat, and who walked in safety in a yard well-fenced round,
wherein also were several large dogs for their protection,
Reynard, that false and dissembling traitor, came to me in
the likeness of a hermit, and brought me a letter to read,
sealed with your Majesty's seal, in which I found written,
that your Highness had made peace throughout all your realm,
and that no manner of beast or fowl should do injury one to
another; affirming unto me, that, for his own part, he was
become a monk, vowing to perform a daily penance for his
sins; shewing unto me his beads, his books, and the hair
shirt next to his skin; saying, in humble wise, unto me,
'Sir Chanticleer, never henceforth be afraid of me, for I
have vowed never more to eat flesh. I am now waxed old, and
would only remember my soul; therefore I take my leave, for
I have yet my noon and my evensong to say.' Which spake, he
departed, saying his Credo as he went, and laid him down
under a hawthorn. At this I was exceeding glad, that I took
no heed, but went and clucked my children together, and
walked without the wall, which I shall ever rue; for false
Reynard, lying under a bush, came creeping betwixt us and
the gate, and suddenly surprised one of my children, which
he trussed up and bore away, to my great sorrow; for, having
tasted the sweetness of our flesh, neither hunter nor hound
can protect or keep him from us. Night and day he waits upon
us, with that greediness, that of fifteen of my children, he
hath left me but four unslaughtered; and yesterday, Copple,
my daughter, which here lieth dead on this bier, was, after
her murder, rescued from him. This is my complaint, and this
I leave to your Highness's mercy to take pity on me, and the
loss of my fair children."

Then spake the King: "Sir Grimbard, hear you this of your
uncle the recluse? he hath fasted and prayed well: believe
me, if I live a year, he shall dearly abide it. As for you,
Chanticleer, your complaint is heard, and shall be cured; to
your daughter that is dead we will give the right of burial,
and with solemn dirges bring her to the earth, with
worship."

After this the King sent for his lords and wisest
counsellors, to consult how this foul murder of Reynard's
might be punished. And in the end, it was concluded that
Reynard should be sent for, and without all excuse, he
should be commanded to appear before the King, to answer
whatever trespasses should be objected against him; and that
this message should be delivered by Bruin the Bear.

To all this the King gave consent, and calling the bear
before him, he said, "Sir Bruin, it is our pleasure that you
deliver this message; yet in the delivery thereof have great
regard to yourself; for Reynard is full of policy, and
knoweth how to dissemble, flatter, and betray; he hath a
world of snares to entangle you withal, and without great
exercise of judgment, will make a scorn and mock of the best
wisdom breathing."

"My Lord," answered Sir Bruin, "let me alone with Reynard;
I am not such a truant in discretion to become a mock to his
knavery;" and thus, full of jollity, the bear departed.

The next morning Bruin set out in quest of the fox;
and after passing through a dark forest and over a high
mountain, he came to Malepardus, Reynard's chiefest and most
ancient castle. Reynard was at home, and pretended to be ill
with eating too much honey. When the bear heard this, he was
extremely desirous of knowing where such excellent food
could be obtained; and Reynard promised to take him to a
garden where he should find more honey-combs than ten bears
could eat at a meal. But the treacherous rascal took him to
a carpenter's yard, where lay the trunk of a huge oak-tree,
half-riven asunder, with two great wedges in it, so that the
cleft stood a great way open. "Behold now, dear uncle," said
the fox, "within this tree is so much honey that it is
unmeasurable." The bear, in great haste, thrust his nose and
fore-paws into the tree; and immediately Reynard pulled out
the two great wedges, and caught Bruin in so sharp a trap,
that the poor beast howled with pain. This noise quickly
brought out the carpenter, who, perceiving how matters
stood, alarmed the whole village, who came and belaboured
the bear's sides with sticks and hoes and pitchforks, until,
mad with rage, he tore his bleeding face and paws from the
tree, and rushed blindly into a river that ran close by,
knocking into the water with him many of the villagers, and
among them, Dame Julock, the parson's wife, for whose sake
every one bestirred himself; and so poor Bruin got safe
away. After some delay, the bear returned to the court,
where, in dismal accents, he recounted the sad trick that
Reynard had played him.

Then said the King, "Now, by my crown, I will take such
revenge as shall make that traitor tremble;" and sending for
his counsellors, they decided that Reynard should be again
summoned to court, and that Tibert the Cat should be the
bearer of the message. "It is your wisdom, Sir Tibert, I
employ," said the great King, "and not your strength: many
prevail with art, when violence returns with lost labour."

So Tibert made ready, and set out with the King's letter to
Malepardus, where he found the fox standing before his
castle-gates; to whom Tibert said, "Health to my fair cousin
Reynard; the King, by me, summons you to the court, in which
if you fail, there is nothing more assured unto you than a
cruel and a sudden death."

The fox answered, "Welcome, dear cousin Tibert; I obey your
command, and wish my Lord the King infinite days of
happiness; only let me entreat you to rest with me to-night,
and take such cheer as my simple house affordeth, and
to-morrow, as early as you will, we will go towards the
court, for I have no kinsman I trust so dearly as yourself."

Tibert replied, "You speak like a noble gentleman; and
me-thinks it is best now to go forward, for the moon shines
as bright as day."

"Nay, dear cousin," said the fox, "let us take the day
before us, so may we encounter with our friends; the night
is full of danger."

"Well," said the cat, "if it be your pleasure, I am content;
what shall we eat?"

Reynard said, "Truly my store is small; the best I have is a
honey-comb, pleasant and sweet; what think you of it?"

To which Tibert replieth, "It is meat I little respect, and
seldom eat; I had rather have one mouse than all the honey
in Europe."

"A mouse!" said Reynard; "why, my dear cousin, here dwelleth
a priest hard by, who hath a barn by his house so full of
mice, that I think half the wagons in the parish are not
able to bear them."

"Oh, dear Reynard," quoth the cat, "do but lead me thither,
and make me your servant for ever."

"Why," said the fox, "love you mice so exceedingly?"

"Beyond expression," quoth the cat.

  [Illustration: SIR TIBERT DELIVERING THE KING'S MESSAGE.]

Then away they went with all speed to the priest's barn,
which was well walled about with a mud wall, where, but the
night before, the fox had broken in and stolen an exceeding
fat hen, at which the priest was so angry, that he had set a
snare before the hole to catch him at his next coming, which
the false fox knew of; and therefore said to the cat, "Sir
Tibert, creep in at this hole, and believe it, you shall not
tarry a minute's space but you shall have more mice than you
are able to devour; hark, you may hear how they peep. When
you have eaten your fill, come again, and I will stay and
await for you here at this hole, that to-morrow we may go
together to the court; but, good cousin, stay not too long,
for I know my wife will hourly expect us."

Then Tibert sprang quickly in at the hole, but was presently
caught fast by the neck in the snare, which as soon as the
cat felt, he quickly leaped back again; and the snare
running close together, he was half-strangled, so that he
began to struggle and cry out and exclaim most piteously.

Then the priest, hearing the outcry, alarmed all his
servants, crying out, "The Fox is taken!" and away they all
ran to where poor Tibert was caught in the snare, and,
without finding out their mistake, they beat him most
unmercifully, and cruelly wounded one of his eyes. The cat,
mad with pain, suddenly gnawed the cord, and seizing the
priest by the legs, bit him and tore him in such a way that
he fell down in a swoon, and then, as every one ran to help
his master, Tibert leaped out of the hole, and limped as
fast as his wounded legs would carry him to the court, where
the King was infinitely angry at the treatment he had
received.

Then Grimbard the Badger, Reynard's nephew, fearing it
was likely to go hard with his uncle, offered to go to
Malepardus and take the King's message to his most subtle
kinsman; to which his Majesty graciously consented. So
Grimbard set forth; and when he came to Malepardus, he found
Reynard with Dame Ermelin his wife sporting with their
children. When Grimbard had delivered the King's letter,
Reynard found that it would be better for him to shew
himself at court at once; so bidding an affectionate
farewell to his dear wife and children, he immediately set
out with the badger to go with him before the King. On his
way, Reynard, remembering the heavy crimes he had committed,
and fearing that his end was at hand, desired of the holy
Grimbard, who had always led a hermit's life, that he would
hear him confess, and set him a penance for his sins.
Grimbard bade him proceed. And the fox confessed how
shamefully he had ill-used the bear, and the cat, and the
wolf, and Chanticleer's children, and many other ill-doings
during his life; and when he had finished, he knelt before
Grimbard, and said, "Thus have I told you my wickedness; now
order my penance, as shall seem fit in your discretion."

Grimbard was both learned and wise; and therefore brake a
rod from a tree, and said, "Uncle, you shall three times
strike your body with this rod, and then lay it down upon
the ground, and spring three times over it without bowing
your legs or stumbling; then shall you take it up and kiss
it gently, in sign of meekness and obedience to your
penance; which done, you are absolved of your sins committed
up to this day, for I pronounce unto you clear remission."

At this the fox was exceeding glad; and immediately he
performed the penance to Grimbard's satisfaction. But as
they went journeying on, it happened that they passed by the
poultry-yard of a convent; and as one young cock strayed far
from the rest, Reynard leaped at him, and caught him by the
feathers, but the cock escaped.

"Villain that you are," said Grimbard, "will you, for a
silly pullet, fall again into your sins?"

To which Reynard answered, "Pardon me, dear nephew, I had
forgotten myself; but I will ask forgiveness, and mine eye
shall no more wander."

However, Grimbard noted that he turned many times to look at
the poultry. But soon afterwards they arrived at the court.

As soon as it was bruited in the court that Reynard the Fox
and Grimbard his kinsman were arrived there, every one, from
the highest to the lowest, prepared himself to complain
of the fox; at which Reynard's heart quaked, but his
countenance kept the old look, and he went as proudly as
ever he was wont with his nephew through the high street,
and came as gallantly into the court as if he had been the
King's son, and as clear from trespass as the most innocent
whosoever; and when he came before the chair of state in
which the King sat, he said, "Heaven give your Majesty glory
and renown above all the princes of the earth."

But the King cut him short at these words, and said: "Peace,
traitorous Reynard; think you I can be caught with the music
of your words? no, it hath too oft deceived me; the peace
which I commanded and swore unto, that have you broken."

Then Bellin the Ram, and Oleway his wife, and Bruin the
Bear, and Tibert the Cat, and Isegrim the Wolf, and Kyward
the Hare, and Bruel the Goose, and Baldwin the Ass, and
Bortle the Bull, and Hamel the Ox, and Chanticleer the Cock,
and Partlett the Hen, and many others, came forward; and all
these with one entire noise cried out against the fox, and
so moved the King with their complaints, that the fox was
taken and arrested.

Upon this arrest, a parliament was called; and
notwithstanding that he answered every objection severally,
and with great art, Reynard was condemned, and judgment
was given that he should be hanged till his body was dead;
at which sentence the fox cast down his head, for all
his jollity was lost, and no flattery nor no words now
prevailed.

Then Isegrim on the one side and Bruin on the other led the
poor fox to the gallows, Tibert running before with the
halter. And when they were come to the place of execution,
the King and the Queen, and all the rest of the nobility,
took their places to see the fox die.

When all things were prepared, the fox said: "Now my heart
is heavy, for death stands in all his horror before me,
and I cannot escape. My dread Lord the King, and you my
sovereign Lady the Queen, and you my lords that stand to
behold me die, I beseech you grant me this charitable boon,
that I may unlock my heart before you, and clear my soul of
her burdens, so that hereafter no man may be blamed for me;
which done, my death will be easy."

Every creature now took compassion on the fox, and said his
request was small, beseeching the King to grant it, which
was done; and then the fox thus spake: "Help me, Heaven,
for I see no man here whom I have not offended; yet was this
evil no natural inclination in me, for in my youth I was
accounted as virtuous as any breathing. This know, I have
played with the lambs all the day long, and taken delight in
their pretty bleating; yet at last in my play I bit one, and
the taste of its blood was so sweet unto me, that I approved
the flesh, and both were so good, that since I could never
forbear it. This liquorish humour drew me into the woods
amongst the goats, where hearing the bleating of the little
kids, I slew one of them, and afterwards two more, which
slaughter made me so hardy, that then I fell to murder hens,
geese, and other poultry. And thus my crimes increased by
custom, and fury so possessed me, that all was fish which
came to my net. After this, in the winter season, I met with
Isegrim, where, as he lay hid under a hollow tree, he
unfolded unto me how he was my uncle, and laid the pedigree
down so plain, that from that day forth we became fellows
and companions; which knot of friendship I may ever curse,
for then began the flood of our thefts and slaughters. He
stole the great things, I the small; he murdered nobles,
I the mean subjects; and in all our actions his share was
still ever the greatest: when he got a ram or a calf, his
fury would hardly afford me the horns to pick on; nay, when
he had an ox or a cow, after himself, his wife, and his
seven children were served, nothing remained to me but the
bare bones to pick. This I speak not in that I wanted (for
it is well known I have more plate, jewels, and coin than
twenty carts are able to carry), but only to shew his
ingratitude."

When the King heard him speak of this infinite treasure and
riches, his heart grew inflamed with a desire thereof; and
he said, "Reynard, where is that treasure you speak of?"

The fox answered: "My Lord, I shall willingly tell you, for
it is true the wealth was stolen; and had it not been stolen
in that manner which it was, it had cost your highness your
life (which Heaven, I beseech, keep ever in protection)."

When the Queen heard that dangerous speech, she started, and
said: "What dangers are these you speak of, Reynard? I do
command you, upon your soul's health, to unfold these
doubtful speeches, and to keep nothing concealed which
concerns the life of my dread Lord."

Then the fox in these words unfolded to the King and Queen
this most foul treason: "Know, then, my dread sovereign Lord
the King, that my father, by a strange accident, digging in
the ground, found out King Ermerick's great treasure,--a
mass of jewels infinite and innumerable; of which being
possessed, he grew so proud and haughty, that he held in
scorn all the beasts of the wilderness, which before had
been his kinsmen and companions. At last he caused Tibert
the Cat to go into the vast forest of Arden to Bruin the
Bear, and to tender to him his homage and fealty; and to say
that if it would please him to be king, he should come into
Flanders, where he would shew him means how to set the crown
upon his head. Bruin was glad of this embassage (for he was
exceeding ambitious, and had long thirsted for sovereignty),
and thereupon came into Flanders, where my father received
him nobly. Then presently he sent for the wise Grimbard, my
nephew, and for Isegrim the Wolf, and for Tibert the Cat;
then these five coming between Gaunt and the village called
Elfe, they held a solemn council for the space of a whole
night, in which, by the assistance of the evil one, and the
strong confidence of my father's riches, it was there
concluded that your Majesty should be forthwith murdered;
which to effect, they took a solemn oath in this manner: the
bear, my father, the badger, and the cat, laying their hands
on Isegrim's crown, swore, first to make Bruin their king,
and to place him in the chair of estate at Acon, and to set
the imperial diadem on his head; and if by any of your
Majesty's blood and alliance they should be gainsaid, that
then my father with his treasure should hire those which
should utterly chase and root them out of the forest. Now
after this determination held and finished, it happened that
my nephew Grimbard being on a time high flown with wine,
he discovered this dread plot to Dame Slopecade his wife,
commanding her upon her life to keep secret the same; but
she, forgetful of her charge, disclosed it in confession to
my wife, as they went a pilgrimage over an heath, with like
conjuration of secrecy. But she, woman-like, contained it no
longer than till she met with me, and gave me a full
knowledge of all that had passed, yet so as by all means
I must keep it secret too, for she had sworn by the three
kings of Cologne never to disclose it: and withal she gave
me such assurance by certain tokens, that I right well found
all was true which she had spoken; insomuch that the very
affright thereof made my hair stand upright, and my heart
become like lead, cold and heavy in my bosom.

"But to proceed from this sorrow, I began to meditate how
I might undo my father's false conspiracies, who sought to
bring a base traitor and a slave into the throne imperial;
for I well perceived, as long as he held the treasure, there
was a possibility of deposing your Majesty. And this
troubled my thought exceedingly, so that I laboured how I
might find out where my father's treasure was hid; and to
that end I watched and attended night and day in the woods,
in the bushes, and in the open fields; nay in all places
wheresoever my father laid his eyes, there was I ever
watching and attending. Now it happened on a time, as I was
laid down flat on the ground, I saw my father come running
out of a hole, and as soon as he was come out, he gazed
round about him, to see if any discovered him; then seeing
the coast clear, he stopped the hole with sand, and made it
so even, smooth, and plain, that no curious eye could
discern a difference betwixt it and the other earth; and
where the print of his foot remained, that with his tail he
stroked over, and with his mouth so smoothed, that no man
might perceive it: and indeed that and many other subtilties
I learned of him there at that instant. When he had thus
finished, away he went towards the village about his private
affairs. Then went I presently towards the hole, and
notwithstanding all his subtilty, I quickly found it out;
and then entered I the cave, where I found that innumerable
quantity of treasure, which cannot be expressed; which
found, I took Ermelin my wife to help me; and we ceased not,
day nor night, with infinite great toil and labour, to carry
and convey away this treasure to another place, much more
convenient for us, where we laid it safe from the search of
any creature.

"Thus by my art only was the treason of Bruin defeated, for
which I now suffer. From hence sprang all my misfortune, as
thus: those foul traitors, Bruin and Isegrim, being of the
King's privatest council, and sitting in high and great
authority, tread upon me, poor Reynard, and work my
disgrace, notwithstanding, for your Majesty's sake, I have
lost my natural father. O my dread Lord, what is he, or who
can tender you a better affection, thus to lose himself to
save you?"

Then the King and Queen, having great hope to get this
inestimable treasure from Reynard, took him from the gibbet;
and the King taking a straw from the ground, pardoned the
fox of all his trespasses which either he or his father had
ever committed. If the fox now began to smile, it was no
wonder; the sweetness of life required it: yet he fell down
before the King and Queen, and humbly thanked them for
mercy, protesting that for that favour he would make them
the richest princes in the world.

Then the King began to inquire where all these treasures
were hid, and Reynard told that he had hid them in a wood
called Hustreloe, near a river named Crekinpit. But when the
King said that he had never heard of such a place, Reynard
called forth Kyward the Hare from among the rest of the
beasts, and commanded him to come before the King, charging
him, upon his faith and allegiance which he bore to the King
and Queen, to answer truly to such questions as he should
ask him.

The hare answered, "I will speak truth in all things, though
I were sure to die for the same."

Then the fox said, "Know you not where Crekinpit floweth?"

"Yes," said the hare, "I have known it any time these dozen
years; it runneth in a wood called Hustreloe, upon a vast
and wide wilderness."

"Well," said the fox, "you have spoken sufficiently; go to
your place again;" so away went the hare.

Then said the fox, "My sovereign Lord the King, what say you
now to my relation; am I worthy your belief or no?"

  [Illustration: REYNARD BRINGS FORWARD THE HARE AS
    HIS WITNESS.]

The King said, "Yes, Reynard, and I beseech thee excuse my
jealousies; it was my ignorance which did thee evil;
therefore forthwith make preparation that we may go to this
pit where the treasure lieth."

But the fox answered that he could not go with his Majesty
without dishonour; for that at present he was under
excommunication, and that it was necessary that he should go
to Rome to be absolved, and that from thence he intended to
travel in the Holy Land. "The course you propose is good,"
said the King; "go on and prosper in your intent."

Then the King mounted on a rock, and addressing his
subjects, told them how that, for divers reasons best known
to himself, he had freely given pardon to Reynard, who had
cast his wickedness behind him, and would no more be guilty
of wrongdoing; and furthermore, he commanded them all to
reverence and honour not only Reynard, but also his wife and
children. At this, Isegrim the Wolf and Bruin the Bear
inveighed against the fox in such an unseemly way, that his
Majesty caused them both to be arrested for high treason.
Now when the fox saw this, he begged of the Queen that he
might have so much of the bear's skin as would make him a
large scrip for his journey; and also the skin of the wolf's
feet for a pair of shoes, because of the stony ways he would
have to pass over. To this the Queen consented, and Reynard
saw his orders executed.

The next morning Reynard caused his new shoes to be well
oiled, and made them fit his feet as tightly as they had
fitted the wolf's. And the King commanded Bellin the Ram to
say mass before the fox; and when he had sung mass and used
many ceremonies over the fox, he hung about Reynard's neck
his rosary of beads, and gave him into his hands a palmer's
staff.

Then the King took leave of him, and commanded all that were
about him, except the bear and the wolf, to attend Reynard
some part of his journey. Oh! he that had seen how gallant
and personable Reynard was, and how well his staff and his
mail became him, as also how fit his shoes were for his
feet, it could not have chosen but have stirred in him very
much laughter. But when they had got onward on their way,
the fox entreated all the beasts to return and pray for him,
and only begged of Bellin the Ram and Kyward the Hare that
they would accompany him as far as Malepardus.

Thus marched these tree together; and when Reynard was come
to the gates of his own house, he said to Bellin, "Cousin, I
will entreat you to stay here without a little, whilst I and
Kyward go in." Bellin was well content; and so the fox and
the hare went into Malepardus, where they found Dame Ermelin
lying on the ground with her younglings about her, who had
sorrowed exceedingly for the loss and danger of her husband;
but when she saw his return, her joy was ten times doubled.
But beholding his mail, his staff, and his shoes, she grew
into great admiration, and said, "Dear husband, how have you
fared?" so he told all that had passed with him at the
King's court, as well his danger as his release, and that
now he was to go a pilgrimage. As for Kyward, he said the
King had bestowed him upon them, to do with him what they
pleased, affirming that Kyward was the first that had
complained of him, for which, questionless, he vowed to be
sharply revenged.

  [Illustration: REYNARD ON HIS PILGRIMAGE TO ROME.]

When Kyward heard these words, he was much appalled, and
would fain have fled away; but he could not, for the fox had
got between him and the gate; who presently seized the hare
by the neck, at which the hare cried unto Bellin for help,
but could not be heard, for the fox in a trice had torn out
his throat; which done, he, his wife, and young ones feasted
therewith merrily, eating the flesh, and drinking to the
King's health.

All this while stood Bellin the Ram at the gate, and grew
exceeding angry both against the fox and the hare, that they
made him wait so long; and therefore called out aloud for
Reynard to come away, which when Reynard heard, he went
forth, and said softly to the ram, "Good Bellin, be not
offended for Kyward is in earnest conference with his
dearest aunt, and entreated me to say unto you, that if you
would please to walk before he would speedily overtake you,
for he is light of foot and speedier than you: nor will his
aunt part with him thus suddenly, for she and her children
are much perplexed at my departure."

"Ay, but," quoth Bellin, "methought I heard Kyward cry for
help."

"How, cry for help? can you imagine he shall receive hurt in
my house? far be such a thought from you; but I will tell
you the reason. As soon as we were come into my house, and
that Ermelin my wife understood of my pilgrimage, presently
she fell down in a swoon, which when Kyward saw, he cried
aloud, 'O Bellin come, help my aunt, she dies, she dies!'"

Then said the ram: "In sadness I mistook the cry, and
thought the hare had been in danger."

"It was your too much care of him," said the fox. "But,
letting this discourse pass, you remember, Bellin, that
yesterday the King and his council commanded me that, before
I departed from the land, I should send unto him two
letters, which I have made ready, and will entreat you,
my dearest cousin, to bear them to his Majesty."

The ram answered: "I would willingly do you the service if
there be nothing but honourable matter contained in your
letters; but I am unprovided of any thing to carry them in."

The fox said: "That is provided for you already, for you
shall have my mail, which you may conveniently hang about
your neck; I know they will be thankfully received of his
Majesty, for they contain matter of great importance."

Then Bellin promised to carry them. So the fox returned into
his house, and took the mail, and put therein the head of
Kyward, and brought it to the ram, and gave him a great
charge not to look therein till it was presented to the
King, as he did expect the King's favour; and that he might
further endear himself with his Majesty, he bade the ram
take upon him the inditing of the letters, "which will be so
pleasing to the King, that questionless he will pour upon
you many favours."

This said, Bellin took leave of the fox and went toward the
court, in which journey he made such speed, that he came
thither before noon, where he found the King in his palace
sitting amongst the nobility.

The King wondered when he saw the ram come in with the mail
which was made of the bear's skin, and said: "Whence comest
thou, Bellin, and where is the fox, that you have that mail
about you?"

Bellin answered: "My dread Lord, I attended the noble fox
to his house, where, after some repose, he desired me to
bear certain letters to your Majesty of infinite great
importance, to which I easily consented. Wherefore he
delivered me the letters enclosed in this mail, which
letters I myself indited, and I doubt not but they are
such as will give your highness both contentment and
satisfaction." Presently the King commanded the letters to
be delivered to Bocart, his secretary, who was an excellent
linguist and understood all languages, that he might read
them publicly; so that he and Tibert the Cat took the mail
from Bellin's neck, and opening the same, instead of letters
they drew out the head of Kyward the Hare, at which being
amazed, they said: "Wo and alas, what letters call you
these? Believe it, my dread Lord, here is nothing but the
head of poor murdered Kyward."

Which the King seeing, he said: "Alas, how unfortunate was
I to believe the traitorous fox!" And with that, being
oppressed with anger, grief, and shame, he held down his
head for a good space, and so did the Queen also. But in the
end, shaking his curled locks, he groaned out such a
dreadful noise, that all the beasts of the forest did
tremble to hear it.

Then the King, full of wrath, commanded the bear and the
wolf to be released from prison, and gave to them and to
their heirs for ever Bellin and all his generation.

Thus was peace made between the King and these nobles, and
Bellin the Ram was forthwith slain by them; and all these
privileges doth the wolf hold to this hour, nor could ever
any reconcilement be made between the wolf's and the ram's
kindred. When this peace was thus finished, the King, for
joy thereof, proclaimed a feast to be held for twelve days
after, which was done with all solemnity.

To this feast came manner all of wild beasts, for it was
known through the whole kingdom, nor was there wanting any
pleasure that could be imagined. Also to this feast resorted
abundance of feathered fowl, and all other creatures that
held peace with his Majesty, and no one missing but the fox
only.

Now after this feast had thus continued in all pomp the
space of eight days, about high noon came Laprell the Rabbit
before the King and Queen, as they sat at dinner, and with a
heavy and lamentable voice said: "My gracious and great
Lord, have pity upon my misery and attend to my complaint,
which is of great violence which Reynard the Fox would
yesterday have committed against me. As I passed by the
castle of Malepardus, supposing to go peaceably towards my
nest, I saw the fox, standing without his gates, attired
like a pilgrim and telling his beads so devoutly, that I
saluted him; but he, returning no answer, stretched forth
his right foot, and with his pilgrim's staff gave me such a
blow on the neck between the head and shoulders, that I
imagined my head had been stricken from my body; but yet so
much memory was left me that I leaped from his claws, though
most grievously hurt and wounded. At this he was wrathful
extremely, because I escaped; only of one of my ears he
utterly deprived me, which I beseech your Majesty in your
royal nature to pity, and that this bloody murderer may not
live thus to afflict your poor subjects."

The royal King was much moved with anger when he heard this
complaint, so that his eyes darted out fire amongst the
beams of majesty; his countenance was dreadful and cruel to
look on, and the whole court trembled to behold him. In the
end he said: "By my crown, I will so revenge these outrages
committed against my dignity, that goodness shall adore me,
and the wicked shall die with the remembrance; his falsehood
and flattery shall no more get belief in me. Is this his
journey to Rome and to the Holy Land? are these the fruits
of his mail, his staff, and other ornaments becoming a
devout pilgrim? Well, he shall find the reward of his
treason. I will besiege Malepardus instantly, and destroy
Reynard and his generation from the earth for ever."

  [Illustration: REYNARD ATTACKETH LAPRELL THE RABBIT.]

When Grimbard heard this, he grew exceedingly sorry, and
stealing from the rest, he made all haste to Malepardus, and
told to his uncle all that had happened. Reynard received
him with great courtesy, and the next morning accompanied
him back to court, confessing on his way many heinous sins,
and obtaining absolution from the badger. The King received
him with a severe and stately countenance, and immediately
asked him touching the complaint of Laprell the Rabbit.

To which Reynard made answer: "Indeed, sire, what Laprell
received he most richly deserved. I gave him a cake when he
was hungry; and when my little son Rossel wanted to share a
bit, the rabbit struck him on the mouth and made his teeth
bleed; whereupon my eldest son Reynardine forthwith leaped
upon him, and would have slain him had I not gone to the
rescue." Then the rabbit, fearing Reynard, stole away out of
court.

"But," quoth the King, "I must charge you with another foul
treason. When I had pardoned all your great transgressions,
and you had promised me to go a pilgrimage to the Holy Land;
when I had furnished you with mail, scrip, and all things
fitting that holy order; then, in the greatest despite, you
sent me back in the mail, by Bellin the Ram, the head of
Kyward the Hare; a thing so notoriously to my disgrace and
dishonour, that no treason can be fouler."

Then spake Reynard to the King, and said, "Alas, my
sovereign Lord, what is that you have said? Is good Kyward
the Hare dead? Oh, where is then Bellin the Ram, or what did
he bring to your Majesty at his return? For it is certain I
delivered him three rich and inestimable jewels, I would not
for the wealth of India they should be detained from you;
the chief of them I determined for you my Lord the King,
and the other two for my sovereign Lady the Queen."

"But," said the King, "I received nothing but the head of
poor murdered Kyward, for which I executed the ram, he
having confessed the deed to be done by his advice and
counsel."

"Is this true?" said the fox; "then wo is me that ever I was
born, for there are lost the goodliest jewels that ever were
in the possession of any prince living; would I had died
when you were thus defrauded, for I know it will be the
death of my wife, nor will she ever henceforth esteem me."

Then Reynard told the King and Queen of the great value of
these inestimable jewels. One was a gold ring, another a
comb polished like unto fine silver, and the third was a
glass mirror; and so great were the virtues of this rare
glass that Reynard shed tears to think of the loss of it.
When the fox had told all this, he thus concluded: "If any
one can charge me with crime and prove it by witness, here
I stand to endure the uttermost the law can inflict upon me;
but if malice only slander me without witness, I crave the
combat, according to the law and instance of the court."

Then said the King, "Reynard, you say well, nor know I any
thing more of Kyward's death than the bringing of his head
unto me by Bellin the Ram; therefore of it I here acquit
you."

"My dear Lord," said the fox, "I humbly thank you; yet is
his death grievous unto me."

But Isegrim the Wolf was not content with this conclusion,
and defied the fox to mortal combat. This challenge the fox
accepted; and the next day was appointed for the meeting.

When all the ceremonies were done, and none but the
combatants were in the lists, the wolf went toward the fox
with infinite rage and fury, thinking to take him in his
fore-feet; but the fox leaped nimbly from him, and the wolf
pursued him, so that there began a tedious chase between
them, on which their friends gazed. The wolf taking larger
strides than the fox, often overtook him, and lifted up his
feet to strike him; but the fox avoided the blow, and smote
him on the face with his tail, so that the wolf was stricken
almost blind, and was forced to rest while he cleared his
eyes; which advantage when Reynard saw, he scratched up the
dust with his feet, and threw it in the eyes of the wolf.
This grieved him worse than the former, so that he durst
follow him no longer, for the dust and sand sticking in his
eyes smarted so sore, that of force he must rub and wash it
away; which Reynard seeing, with all the fury he had he ran
upon him, and with his teeth gave him three sore wounds on
his head.

Then the wolf being enraged, said, "I will make an end of
this combat, for I know my very weight is able to crush him
to pieces; and I lose much of my reputation, to suffer him
thus long to contend against me." And this said, he struck
the fox again so sore a blow on the head with his foot, that
he fell down to the ground; and ere he could recover himself
and arise, the wolf caught him in his feet and threw him
under him, lying upon him in such wise, as if he would have
pressed him to death.

Then the fox bethought himself how he might best get free;
and thrusting his hand down, he caught the wolf fast by the
belly, and he wrung him so extremely hard thereby, that he
made him shriek and howl out with the anguish, and in the
end the wolf fell over and over in a swoon; then presently
Reynard leaped upon him, and drew him about the lists and
dragged him by the legs, and struck, wounded, and bit him in
many places, so that the whole field might take notice
thereof.

Then a great shout was raised, the trumpets were sounded,
and every one cried, "Honour to the fox for this glorious
conquest." Reynard thanked them all kindly, and received
their congratulations with great joy and gladness. And, the
marshals going before, they went all to the King, guarding
the fox on every side, all the trumpets, pipes, and
minstrelsy sounding before him.

When Reynard came before the King he fell on his knees, but
the King bade him stand up, and said to him, "Reynard, you
may well rejoice, for you have won much honour this day;
therefore here I discharge you, and set you free to go
whither your own will leads you." So the court broke up,
and every beast returned to his own home.

With Reynard, all his friends and kinsfolk, to the number of
forty, took their leave also of the King, and went away with
the fox, who was no little glad that he had sped so well,
and stood so far in the King's favour; for now he had power
enough to advance whom he pleased, and pull down any that
envied his fortune.

After some travel the fox and his friends came to his
borough or castle of Malepardus, where they all, in noble
and courteous manner, took leave of each other, and Reynard
did to every one of them great reverence, and thanked
them for the love and honour he had received from them,
protesting evermore to remain their faithful servant, and to
send them in all things wherein his life or goods might be
available unto them; and so they shook hands and departed.

Then the fox went to Dame Ermelin his wife, who welcomed him
with great tenderness; and to her and her children he
related at large all the wonders which had befallen him at
court, and missed no tittle or circumstance therein. Then
grew they proud that his fortune was so excellent; and the
fox spent his days from thenceforth, with his wife and
children, in great joy and content.


ROBSON, LEVEY, AND FRANKLYN, GREAT NEW STREET.

       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *

Errata (noted by transcriber)

  that demure conscience-striken pair  [_text unchanged_]
  we will give the right of burial
    [_text unchanged: error for "rite"?_]





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