|Two pretty girls lived not far from Rabbit and Wolf. One day Rabbit called upon Wolf and said, "Let's go and visit those pretty girls up the road." |
"All right," Wolf said, and they started off.
When they got to the girls' house, they were invited in, but both girls took a great liking to Wolf and paid all their attention to him while Rabbit had to sit by and look on. Rabbit of course was not pleased by this, and he soon said, "We had better be going back."
"Let's wait a while longer," Wolf replied, and they remained until late in the day. Before they left, Rabbit found a chance to speak to one of the girls so that Wolf could not overhear and he said, "The one you've been having so much fun with is my old horse."
"I think you are lying," the girl replied.
"No, I am not. You shall see me ride him up here tomorrow."
"If we see you ride him up here," the girl said with a laugh, "we'll believe he's only your old horse."
Next morning Wolf was up early, knocking on Rabbit's door. "It's time to visit those girls again," he announced.
Rabbit groaned. "Oh, I was sick all night," he answered, "and I hardly feel able to go."
Wolf kept urging him, and finally Rabbit said, "If you will let me ride you, I might go along to keep you company."
Wolf agreed to carry him astride of his back. But then Rabbit said, "I would like to put a saddle on you so as to brace myself" When Wolf agreed to this, Rabbit added: "I believe it would be better if I should also bridle you."
Although Wolf objected at first to being bridled, he gave in when Rabbit said he did not think he could hold on and manage to get as far as the girls' house without a bridle. Finally Rabbit wanted to put on spurs.
"I am too ticklish," Wolf protested.
"I will not spur you with them," Rabbit promised. "I will hold them away from you, but it would be nicer to have them on."
At last Wolf agreed to this, but he repeated, "I am very ticklish. You must not spur me."
"When we get near the girls' house," Rabbit said, "we will take everything off you and walk the rest of the way."
And so they started up the road, Rabbit proudly riding upon Wolf's back. When they were nearly in sight of the house, Rabbit raked his spurs into Wolf's sides and Wolf galloped full speed right by the house.
"Those girls have seen you now," Rabbit said. "I will tie you here and go up to see them and try to explain everything. I'll come back after a while and get you."
And so Rabbit went back to the house and said to the girls, "You both saw me riding my old horse, did you not?"
"Yes," they answered, and he sat down and had a good time with them.
After a while Rabbit thought he ought to untie Wolf, and he started back to the place where he was fastened. He knew that Wolf must be very angry with him by this time, and he thought up a way to untie him and get rid of him without any danger to himself. He found a thin hollow log and began beating upon it as if it were a drum. Then he ran up to Wolf as fast as he could go, crying out, "The soldiers are hunting for you! You heard their drum. The soldiers are after you."
Wolf was very much frightened of soldiers. "Let me go, let me go!" he shouted.
Rabbit had barely freed him when Wolf broke away and ran as fast as he could into the woods. Then Rabbit returned home, laughing to himself over how he had fooled Wolf, and feeling satisfied that he could have the girls to himself for a while.
Near the girls' house was a large peach orchard, and one day they asked Rabbit to shake the peaches off the tree for them. They went to the orchard together and he climbed up into a tree to shake the peaches off. While he was there Wolf suddenly appeared and called out: "Rabbit, old fellow, I'm going to even the score with you. I'm not going to leave you alone until I do."
Rabbit raised his head and pretended to be looking at some people off in the distance. Then he shouted from the treetop, "Here is that fellow, Wolf, you've been hunting for!" At this, Wolf took fright and ran away again.
Some time after this, Rabbit was resting against a tree-trunk that leaned toward the ground. When he saw Wolf coming along toward him, he stood up so that the bent tree-trunk pressed against his shoulder.
"I have you now," said Wolf.
But Rabbit quickly replied, "Some people told me that if I would hold this tree up with the great power I have they would bring me four hogs in payment. Now, I don't like hog meat as well as you do, so if you take my place they'll give the hogs to you."
Wolf's greed was excited by this, and he said he was willing to hold up the tree. He squeezed in beside Rabbit, who said, "You must hold it tight or it will fall down." Rabbit then ran off, and Wolf stood with his back pressed hard against the bent treetrunk until he finally decided he could stand it no longer. He jumped away quickly so the tree would not fall upon him. Then he saw that it was only a leaning tree rooted in the earth. "That Rabbit is the biggest liar," he cried. "If I can catch him I'll certainly fix him."
After that, Wolf hunted for Rabbit every day until he found him lying in a nice grassy place. He was about to spring upon him when Rabbit said, "My friend, I've been waiting to see you again. I have something good for you to eat. Somebody killed a pony out there in the road. If you wish I'll help you drag it out of the road to a place where you can make a feast off it."
"All right," Wolf said, and he followed Rabbit out to the road where a pony was lying asleep.
"I'm not strong enough to move the pony by myself," said Rabbit, "so I'll tie its tail to yours and help you by pushing."
Rabbit tied their tails together carefully so as not to awaken the pony. Then he grabbed the pony by the ears as if he were going to lift it up. The pony woke up, jumped to its feet, and ran away, dragging Wolf behind. Wolf struggled frantically to free his tail, but all he could do was scratch on the ground with his claws.
"Pull with all your might," Rabbit shouted after him.
"How can I pull with all my might," Wolf cried, "when I'm not standing on the ground?"
By and by, however, Wolf got loose, and then Rabbit had to go into hiding for a long, long time.