Broder Fox the Incendiary
Brother Rabbit had many enemies. All the beasts with sharp teeth, claws and beaks wore his enemies. Brother Fox, Brother Wolf, Brother Bear and Brother Buzzard were his worst enemies. All of them tried to catch him, but he was too clever for them. So they had to pretend that they were good neighbours. Sometimes they even came to see him, and sometimes they met him at the houses of other neighbours. They seldom showed their teeth when they were inside a house. But they could easily catch and kill a neighbour if they saw him alone in the fields. Brother Fox was the worst of them all. When Brother Fox met an animal who was .smaller and weaker than he was, he always tried to bring trouble to him.
All the small and weak animals were Brother Rabbit's friends. He always helped them when they got into trouble, and sometimes they helped him.
Brother Rabbit played so many tricks on Brother Fox that Brother Fox began to look for somebody on whom he could play a trick.
One day, when he was going along the big road, he met old Brother Terrapin. He decided that it was very easy to play a trick on Brother Terrapin because Brother Terrapin walked very slowly and could not run away from him. So, when Brother Fox came up to Brother Terrapin, he felt very strong and brave.
"How are you to-day, Brother Terrapin?" said Brother Fox.
"Not very well, Brother Fox," said Brother Terrapin. "I do not feel quite well, Brother Fox. And how are you?"
"Oh, I am all right, as always," said Brother Fox. "Why are your eyes so red, Brother Terrapin?"
"It is because I see many troubles, Brother Fox. You don't see any, but I see many."
"No, no, Brother Terrapin! You don't know real trouble yet. If you want to see real trouble,
you must come with me.. I am the man who can show you trouble."
"Well," said Brother Terrapin, "if you are the man who can show me trouble, I am the man who wants to look at it."
Then Brother Fox asked Brother Terrapin:
"Do you know the Old Boy?"
"No," answered Brother Terrapin, "I do not."
"The Old Boy is the trouble which I was talking about," said Brother Fox.
"And how can we see him?" asked Brother Terrapin.
Brother Fox said:
"If you want to see the Old Boy, you must go to the middle of that big field of dry grass and sit there. Then you will see the Old Boy very soon."
Brother Terrapin knew he could not run away from Brother Fox, and he could not fight with him because he was not strong enough. So he said to himself: "There is something wrong, but I must trust my luck."
Then he said to Brother Fox:
"Help me to climb over the fence, Brother Fox, then I shall go and look at the Old Boy." .
Brother Fox helped him to climb over the fence. When Brother Terrapin was almost in the middle of the field, Brother Fox rail to Mrs. Meadows' house and asked her to give him some fire. "I want to light my pipe," he said. He took the fire and he ran around the field, and he set the grass on fire. Soon the field was burning on all sides, but Brother Terrapin did not see or feel the fire at first because he was very slow in everything.
When old Brother Terrapin was on his way to the middle of the field, he came across Brother Rabbit who was sleeping under a bush. Brother Rabbit always slept with one eye open. He heard the noise that Brother Terrapin made as he crawled through the grass and he woke up at once. They shook hands and asked each other about their families. Then Brother Terrapin told Brother Rabbit about Brother Fox and the Old Boy. Brother Rabbit sniffed the air and said:
"It's a good thing that you came across mi just now, and not later. The grass is burning. Somebody wants to roast us in a hot fire."
This frightened Brother Terrapin to death and he began to cry and said:
"I want to get out of here, I want to get out of here, I don't want to roast in a hot fire."
"I shall take care of you," said Brother Rabbit, "don't be afraid, Brother Terrapin."
He took Brother Terrapin to the middle of the field, where there was a big hollow stump. Brother Rabbit pushed Brother Terrapin up on that stump, and then jumped on it himself. They both crawled into the hollow, and when
the fire came and the grass was burning all
around them, they sat there safe and sound.
When the fire passed, Brother Terrapin looked around, and he saw Brother Fox. Brother Fox was running up and down the fence. Brother Rabbit also looked out of the hollow, and he saw Brother Fox too. Then he began to shout in Brother Terrapin's voice:
"Brother Fox! Brother Fox! Oh, Brother Fox! Come here! Brother Rabbit is here!"
And Brother Fox jumped on the fence and saw Brother Rabbit's ears in the hollow stump. He forgot about everything and jumped into the burning grass. And at once he burned his feet, and it hurt him so much that he began to howl. and roll on the red-hot ground. Brother Rabbit and Brother Terrapin sat on the stump and looked. They shouted and laughed, and they
laughed and shouted, and it was so funny that Brother Terrapin fell off the stump. He fell on his back and burnt it, and Brother Rabbit had to save him once more.
By and by Brother Fox got out of the field and ran away down the road.
It was a good lesson for Brother Fox, and not only for him. But Brother Fox and his friends never remember such lessons, and that is very bad, you know.