The Tiger and the Fox
In a certain wood, where dwelt many jackals and foxes, a tiger came and took up his abode. And what did he do? This is what he used to do. Every day he would kill a jackal or two.
So the jackals and foxes gathered together, and said, "If he goes on this way he will destroy us all, so, as we are now assembled here, let us agree that each will take his turn to be devoured."
And so they did. Every day they used to give to the tiger the one whose turn it was. One day it was a fox's turn.
At first he hid himself, but then he thought, "Now I have to go, for I am hemmed in on both sides. I'll go, but I'll try by some trick to keep my breath in me."
So on he went, shivering as he went, till he came to the tiger's presence.
"Ah!" says the tiger, "You fox, why have you been so long?"
"Sire," said the fox, "another tiger has come to live in your country."
"Where is that tiger?" said the tiger.
"Come with me," said the fox, "and I will show him to you."
So the fox went in front and the tiger went behind, and they went on till they came to a well.
They came and stood at the mouth of the well, and then the fox said, "Oh, my lord tiger! That other tiger has just come home after feeding on a jackal, and he is now sitting inside this well."
Then the tiger said, "What kind of tiger can he be to come to my country! Either I must stay here alone, or he can stay alone, but we cannot live together."
Then he went up to the well and looked in, and saw a tiger sitting there. But really it was only his own reflection. With that he leapt into the well, and there was drowned and perished.
Then the fox went back to his home, jumping for joy as he went. He called out to his brethren, "Come here, foxes and jackals!"
They came up at his call, and were very angry, and said, "You fox, it was your turn to be eaten by the tiger! Why have you come back? Now the tiger will be in a rage and will come and kill two or three jackals and two or three foxes."
But the fox answered them, "Don't you be afraid. I have killed that tiger."
They all said, "You are a fox, and he is a tiger. How then could you kill him?"
He said, "Come, and I'll show him to you."
They set out in great fear after the fox, and trembling with fright, they came and stoood at the mouth of the well.
The fox gave a shout and said, "Come and see how I have slain the tiger and cast him into this well." They peeped in, and said that it was the truth, and that the tiger was lying dead in the well. And they all rejoiced exceedingly.