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Eskimo Stories

Animal Stories Of The North

Translated by Fainna Solasko
Illustrated by Y.Rachov

Fox And The Teals

One day Sly Fox was walking along the shore. "No animal is smarter than me. No animal is more crafty than me!" he was saying to himself.

Eskimo Stories

Some teals were swimming nearby. They spotted Pox and decided to play a trick on him. Elder Teal said,

"Let's make a boat of our wings, brothers. We'll line up, two abreast, and each'll spread out his inside wing. Fox'll think we're a boat "

No sooner said than done. They lined up two abreast and each spread out a wing. Now they looked like a boat. Their outside wings looked like oars. As they floated along Elder Teal called out,

"One, two! One, two! Pull on those oars!"

Fox was old and couldn't see as well as he once could. It seemed to him a boat with rowers in it was sailing by. Fox stopped and shouted, "Ahoy, there! Pull up and take me aboard! Can't you see who I am? I'm the master hereabouts! Can't you see I'm awfully tired?"

The teals headed in to shore. Fox climbed into their midst, sat down, puffed out his chest, fluffed his tail and closed his eyes contentedly. The boat moved quickly away from the shore. All of a sudden Fox heard Elder Teal say,

"Let's fly now, brothers. We've had enough of swimming."

Eskimo Stories

A moment later Fox found himself in the water. The teals were winging away. Fox paddled back to shore, saying to himself, "Those teals tricked me. They've disgraced me."

It was hard going, for Fox's wet tail was pulling him down. "My beautiful tail, don't let me down now. Help me reach shore!" he said.

So Fox's tail became a rudder.

Fox barely made it back to the shore. He climbed a little hill and sat down to dry in the sun.

Meanwhile, the teals were flying over the tundra, telling everyone of the cold bath they'd given Fox.

Fox looked around and saw a great number of large and small animals. They'd all gathered round and were laughing at him.

"Hey, Fox, won't you tell us how the teals dunked you in the icy sea?" they teased.

Fox shook himself, clamped his wet tail between his teeth to make the going easier and dashed off as fast as he could into the tundra. He was burning up with shame.

Fox has stopped coming down to the seashore since then.

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