Українські народні казки

The cat, the cock, and the fox
Ukrainian fairy tale

There was once upon a time a cat and a cock, who agreed to live together, so they built them a hut on an ash-heap, and the cock kept house while the cat went foraging for sausages.

One day the fox came running up: “Open the door, little cock!” cried she. — “Pussy told me not to, little fox!” said the cock. — “Open the door, little cock!” repeated the fox. — “I tell you, pussy told me not to, little fox!” — At last, however, the cock grew tired of always saying “No!” so he opened the door, and in the fox rushed, seized him in her jaws, and ran off with him. Then the cock cried:

“Help! pussy-pussy!

That foxy hussy

Has got me tight

With all her might.

Across her tail

My legs do trail

Along the bridge so stony!”

The cat heard it, gave chase to the fox, rescued the cock, brought him home, scolded him well, and said, “Now keep out of her jaws in the future, if you don’t want to be killed altogether!”

Then the cat went out foraging for wheat, so that the cock might have something to eat. He had scarcely gone when the sly she-fox again came creeping up. “Dear little cock!” said she, “pray open the door!” — “Nay, little fox! Pussy said I wasn’t to.” But the fox went on asking and asking till at last the cock let him in. Then the fox rushed at him, seized him by the neck, and ran off with him. Then the cock cried out:

“Help! pussy-pussy!

That foxy hussy

Has got me tight

With all her might.

Across her tail

My legs do trail

Along the bridge so stony I”

The cat heard it, and again he ran after the fox and rescued the cock, and gave the fox a sound drubbing. Then he said to the cock, “Now, mind you never let her come in again, or she’ll eat you.”

But the next time the cat went out, the she-fox came again, and said, “Dear little cock, open the door!” — “No, little fox! Pussy said I wasn’t to.” But the fox begged and begged so piteously that, at last, the cock was quite touched, and opened the door. Then the fox caught him by the throat again, and ran away with him, and the cock cried:

“Help! pussy-pussy!

That foxy hussy

Has got me tight

With all her might.

Across her tail

My legs do trail

Along the bridge so stony!”

The cat heard it, and gave chase again. He ran and ran, but this time he couldn’t catch the fox up; so he returned home and wept bitterly, because he was now all alone. At last, however, he dried his tears and got him a little fiddle, a little fiddle-bow, and a big sack, and went to the fox’s hole and began to play:

“Fiddle-de-dee!

The foxy so wee

Had daughters twice two,

And a little son too,

Called Phil. — Fiddle-dee!

Come, foxy, and see

My sweet minstrelsy!”

Then the fox’s daughter said, “Mammy, I’ll go out and see who it is that is playing so nicely!” So out she skipped, but no sooner did pussy see her than he caught hold of her and popped her into his sack. Then he played again:

“Fiddle-de-dee!

The foxy so wee

Had daughters twice two,

And a little son too,

Called Phil. — Fiddle-dee!

Come, foxy, and see

My sweet minstrelsy!”

Then the second daughter skipped out, and pussy caught her by the forehead, and popped her into his sack, and went on playing and singing till he had got all four daughters into his sack, and the little son also.

Then the old fox was left all alone, and she waited and waited, but not one of them came back. At last she said to herself, “I’ll go out and call them home, for the cock is roasting, and the milk pottage is simmering, and ’tis high time we had something to eat.” So out she popped, and the cat pounced upon her, and killed her too. Then he went and drank up all the soup, and gobbled up all the pottage, and then he saw the cock lying on a plate. “Come, shake yourself, cock!” said puss. So the cock shook himself, and got up, and the cat took the cock home, and the dead foxes too. And when they got home they skinned them to make nice beds to lie upon, and lived happily together in peace and plenty. And as they laughed over the joke as a good joke, we may laugh over it too!