Fox and the Boaster Story
Fox had been hunting for days with no luck. He was very hungry and had little meat left on his bones.
As he walked down the path, he heard someone coming behind him, singing loudly. He jumped into the bushes along the trail, crouching down on his belly to hide. As he waited, the singing became louder until Fox saw something coming over the hill. It was a heron feather bobbing closer and closer. Fox, hoping this was a large bird he might catch, pulled in his legs and prepared to leap at it.
But, as the feather came closer, he realized it was just a single feather attached to the head of a brave who was singing while he rode on a horse. He was dressed in the finest clothes and sat proudly.
Fox scuttled down deeper into the brush, knowing that if the brave saw him he would kill him. Fox skins were highly prized items and difficult to catch.
As the man passed by, Fox could hear his song was actually a boasting poem and the man was more concerned with himself than anything hiding in the bushes.
"No one is braver than Heron Feather," sang the young man. "And I should know that for I am he. No one wears finer clothing. No one is a better fisherman. If you doubt this, look and see."
He was on his way to the lodge of a young woman he wished to marry and wanted to impress her with his beautiful clothes and a large bag full of fish.
But Fox was no longer listening to the song and he was no longer afraid. He was drooling at the smell of all those fish. He was so hungry, he just had to have those fish. As the man rode by, Fox's thoughts formed into a plan.
As soon as the man was out of sight, Fox lept up and ran through the woods along the path until he was ahead of the man. He then laid down in the path with his tongue hanging out in the dirt and his eyes closed.
Soon, the man again came riding down the path, boasting of his bravery and deeds. When he saw Fox, he climbed down from his horse.
"What? a dead fox?"
"Why, I can give this beautiful pelt as a gift and claim I caught the fox myself."
"But, I will not skin it now or I may stain my beautiful clothes."
So, he put Fox in the bag with the fish, tied it shut, and continued to ride along, now singing about how great a fisherman AND hunter he was.
After awhile, Fox chewed a hole in the side of the bag. Through this hole, he dropped the fish to the ground, one by one. When they were all gone, Fox squeezed out the hole and raced back down the path, eating his fill as he went.
Heron Feather rode all the way to the village, singing, completely oblivious to Fox's trick. He stopped in front of the young woman's home and sang loudly of his fishing, and hunting, and beautiful clothes. He said he had trapped a Fox (which was not the truth) and he had caught dozens of fish (which he had actually traded some mocassins for).
Then he held up the bag and saw it was empty. Turning around, he rode silently away, to the jeering of the village. He learned that day that boasting does not make a person great.
It is one thing to find a fox and another to skin it.