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Animal Stories Of The North
Translated by Fainna Solasko
Illustrated by Y.Rachov
An Eskimo Story told by Kivagme
Little Fox Cub was born into a red fox hunting family. He had three brothers and two sisters. They all had fluffy tails and reddish coats. They all barked loudly.
The family lived in a warm, dry burrow at the foot of a high hill. Beyond the hill were the great snow-capped mountains. The wind always howled there. Time and again their parents would say to them,
"When you grow up and are on your own you can go wherever you want to, but you may not go to the big mountains yet. There are avalanches there. If packed snow falls on you you'll be hurt and buried under it, and you'll never get out."
"All right," the cubs replied. "We won't go there in winter. We'll wait till summer when the snow's all melted."
"No," said their parents. "In summer rocks come rolling down the mountainside. A rock may seem wedged on a slope, but if Wind blows hard and starts it rolling it'll carry other rocks down with it. If you get caught under those raining rocks you'll be killed."
"All right, we won't go where there are avalanches in winter and rainfalls of rocks in summer," the cubs said.
But Little Fox Cub said to himself, "It's too long to wait till we grow up. They're just trying to scare us. Mountains aren't dangerous at all."
Winter passed and the birds returned. Streams of melted snow water rushed down the mountainsides. Fox Cub gazed at them and said to himself, "What fine, tumbling streams these are. They're coming from the mountains. It must be lots of fun up there and not scarey at all. So what's there for me to be scared of. I guess braver than my parents, because I'm not afraid of anything."
Fox Cub trotted off into the mountains. He stopped at the foot of a high crag and barked. "Yip! See how brave I am!"
Nearer Echo came right back at him: "Yip!" And it roiled off along the mountain tops: "Yip! Yip, yip..." The farther it rolled, the fainter it became.
"Oho!" Fox Cub said to himself. "Mountain looks big, but her voice is just like mine. It's even softer. So what's there to be scared of?" He yapped still louder then. "Oho! I'm brave! Yip! I'm not afraid of anything! Yip! My voice is louder than Mountain's! Yip! Yip!"
Echo rolled on and reached Wind. Mighty Wind became very angry.
"I'll teach that little braggart a lesson!" Wind said and blew hard, dislodging a huge rock. The rock came crashing down the slope, crushing everything in its wake.
"Who's that bragging? Who's that yapping?" Echo rumbled, repeating the crashing sound of the falling rocks. "Beware, if you value your life!" Echo thundered.
Fox Cub tucked his tail between his legs, flattened his ears, glanced around nervously and inched away towards the path.
"Uh... I just... I was just fooling," he yipped and streaked off so fast even Wind could not have caught up with him.
At last Fox Cub tumbled into his burrow. When he finally stopped panting he looked at his brothers and sisters and was about to say.
"I went right up to Mountain and wasn't a bit scared." But all he actually said was. "Yip!"
That's because his teeth were still chattering.
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