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Ukrainian Folk Tale Retold by Ivan Franko
Translated by Mary Skrypnyk
Illustrated by N.Serdjukova
The Vixen and the Crane became very good friends, even to the point of becoming godparents to each other's children. One day the Vixen invited the Crane oven for lunch.
"Do come, dear friend! Do come, love! All my house has to offer will be yours."
The Crane arrived in good time. The Vixen had prepared a meal of porridge with milk, spread it thinly over a plate, and placed it before her friend.
"Do help yourself, old friend, don't be proud! I prepared it myself."
The Crane pecked and pecked at the porridge with her long beak, but was unable to get a bite. In the meantime the Vixen licked away at the porridge till she ate it all. When it was all gone, she said:
"Do forgive me, friend, for I have nothing else to offer you."
"I thank you for even this," answered the Crane, dryly, "now how about visiting me tomorrow."
"Very well, my dear, I'll come, and why not?" answered the Vixen.
Next day the Vixen arrived to a meal of meat, beets, beans and potatoes prepared by the Crane. She had cut everything up into small pieces and placed it all into a tall earthen crock with a narrow neck and placed in on the table before the Vixen.
"Do help yourself, my dear, don't be proud, love!" the Crane begged hospitably.
The Vixen sniffed — it all smelled so good! She stuck her nose into the crock, but it wouldn't go in! She tried using her paw, but with no success either. She circled the pot in one direction, then the other — there was no way she could get at the food. The Crane, in the meantime, didn't waste a moment. She reached easily into the crock with her long beak, pulling out one piece after another and swallowing them with a fine appetite till everything was gone.
"Do forgive me, friend," she said, having emptied the crock, "you were welcome to all my house had to offer, but I have no more."
The Vixen was so angry that she left without even thanking her hostess. She had thought, you see, that she would have eaten her fill for a week, and here she was, going home, having been neatly paid back by the Crane. From that time on, the Vixen gave up her friendship with the Crane.
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