The Fox and the People.

O ye magnates, all your utterances against me appear to coincide with the example of a certain fox, who during the night entered into a certain city through the window of a man who curried skins, and whenever he entered into the house he gnawed the skins. The tanner perceiving the tatters made in the skins, and being satisfied the damage was through the fox, immedi­ately fixed a solid trap. According to his wont, the fox entered through the window, and was caught in the trap. The unhappy yet crafty fox, by some well-skilled device, ran away with the trap which ensnared him, and wandered all around the city to find another window by which to go out. Having wandered about the whole night, he found no place of exit, for the city was walled all around.

On the approach of day, he said to himself: “If day should dawn, of a certainty I shall be seized by dogs, and they would not leave me before they had torn away my flesh; but I know what it behoves me to do.” Thereupon he laid himself near the threshold of the gate of the city, feigning himself dead and breathless. And while lying as if dead, the gate, as usual, was opened by the porter at early morn. Some one upon seeing him said to the porter: “Of a truth, the tail of this fox is well adapted to sponge out the mill,” and straightway, on saying this, seizing a sword, he cut off the tail. The fox bore courageously the pain of the clipt tail. Afterwards a certain other person, seeing him, said: “If any one has a little whining child, nothing is better as a cure than the ears of a fox, by holding them over the child,” and forthwith he cut off his ears, and the fox nobly sustained this anguish. And still another, passing along the same path, and seeing him as if dead, said: “I have heard some one say, that if a person is suffering from toothache, and should place on it the tooth of a fox, he is immediately relieved from pain,” and with these words, taking a stone, he knocked out all the teeth, and the fox, without wincing, underwent all these terrible pains, until the moment when another man, walk­ing by, said: “I have heard that a fox's heart is beneficial for every grief, and curative of every disease.” The man, upon speaking thus, taking a sword, in order to cut out his heart, the fox, leaping up, ran away in haste through the gate of the fortress, for the gate happened at that time to be open, and he was saved from the death he was about to suffer. “And thus [continues the Damsel] am I, helpless being, O king, prepared to undergo all the suggestions thy rulers counsel thee to follow; but I am unable to bear having my heart forcibly taken out— for this would be a bitter and painful death.”

This story, as Goedeke has pointed out, like the four tales in the introduction to the Sindibād Nāma, is of Buddhist origin, being No. 23 of the Avadānas translated by Julien. It seems to me very probable that it also occurred in the complete text of the Sindibād Nāma, since it would naturally follow the Damsel's suggestion that her tongue should be cut out. And the next chapter, in which Sindibād discourses eloquently to the king, which wants the commencement, may have contained the tale, preserved in the Greek text only, related by the sage in the course of his reply to the king's inquiry, to whom his son's wisdom was due. It is as follows, and may be entitled