The Little Foxes
`SO, when they got to the top of the hill, Bruno opened the hamper: and he took out the Bread, and the Apples, and the Milk: and they ate, and they drank. And when they'd finished the Milk, and eaten half the Bread and half the Apples, the Lamb said "Oh, my paws is so sticky! I want to wash my paws!" And the Lion said "Well, go down the hill, and wash them in the brook, yonder. We'll wait for you!"'
`It never comed back!' Bruno solemnly whispered to me.
But Sylvie overheard him. `You're not to whisper, Bruno! It spoils the story! And when the Lamb had been gone a long time, the Lion said to Bruno "Do go and see after that silly little Lamb! It must have lost its way." And Bruno went down the hill. And when he got to the brook, he saw the Lamb sitting on the bank: and who should be sitting by it but an old Fox!'
`Don't know who should be sitting by it,' Bruno said thoughtfully to himself. `A old Fox were sitting by it.'
`And the old Fox were saying,' Sylvie went on, for once conceding the grammatical point. `"Yes, my dear, you'll be ever so happy with us, if you'll only come and see us! I've got three little Foxes there, and we do love little Lambs so dearly!" And the Lamb said "But you never eat them, do you, Sir?" And the Fox said "Oh, no! What, eat a Lamb? We never dream of doing such a thing!" So the Lamb said "Then I'll come with you." And off they went, hand in hand.'
`That Fox were welly extremely wicked, weren't it?' said Bruno.
`No, no!' said Sylvie, rather shocked at such violent language. `It wasn't quite so bad as that!'
`Well, I mean, it wasn't nice,' the little fellow corrected himself.
`And so Bruno went back to the Lion. "Oh, come quick!" he said. "The Fox has taken the Lamb to his house with him! I'm sure he means to eat it!" And the Lion said "I'll come as quick as ever I can!" And they trotted down the hill.'
`Do oo think he caught the Fox, Mister Sir?' said Bruno. I shook my head, not liking to speak: and Sylvie went on.
`And when they got to the house, Bruno looked in at the window. And there he saw the three little Foxes sitting round the table, with their clean pinafores on, and spoons in their hands--'
`Spoons in their hands!' Bruno repeated in an ecstasy of delight.
`And the Fox had got a great big knife--all ready to kill the poor little Lamb--' (`Oo needn't be flightened, Mister Sir!' Bruno put in, in a hasty whisper.)
`And just as he was going to do it, Bruno heard a great ROAR--' (The real Bruno put his hand into mine, and held tight), `and the Lion came bang through the door, and the next moment it had bitten off the old Fox's head! And Bruno jumped in at the window, and went leaping round the room, and crying out "Hooray! Hooray! The old Fox is dead! The old Fox is dead!"'
Bruno got up in some excitement. `May I do it now?' he enquired.
Sylvie was quite decided on this point. `Wait till afterwards,' she said. `The speeches come next, don't you know? You always love the speeches, don't you?'
`Yes, I doos,' said Bruno: and sat down again.
`The Lion's speech. "Now, you silly little Lamb, go home to your mother, and never listen to old Foxes again. And be very good and obedient."'
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