Pat and the Fox by Samuel Lover
Paddy," said the squire, "perhaps you would
favor the gentleman with that story you told
me once about a fox?"
"Indeed and I will, plaze yer honor," said Paddy,
"though I know full well the divil a one word iv it
you b'lieve, nor the gintlemen won't either, though
you're axin' me for it—but only want to laugh at me,
and call me a big liar when my back's turned."
"Maybe we wouldn't wait for your back being
turned, Paddy, to honor you with that title."
"Oh, indeed, I'm not sayin' that you wouldn't do
it as soon foreninst my face, yer honor, as you often
did before, and will agin, plaze God, and welkim."
"Well, Paddy, say no more about that, but let's
have the story."
"Sure I'm losing no time, only telling the gintlemen
beforehand that it's what they'll be callin' it, a
lie—and indeed it's ancommon, sure enough; but
you see, gintlemen, you must remimber that the fox
is the cunnin'est baste in the world, barrin' the
Here Paddy was questioned why he considered the
wren as cunning a baste as the fox.
"Why, sir, bekase all the birds build their nest
wid one hole to it only, excep'n the wran; but the
wran builds two holes to the nest, and so that if any
inimy comes to disturb it upon one door it can go out
an the other. But the fox is cute to that degree
that there's many mortial a fool to him—and, by
dad, the fox could by and sell many a Christian, as
you'll soon see by-and-by, when I tell you what happened
to a wood-ranger that I knew wanst, and a dacent
man he was, and wouldn't say the thing in a lie.
"Well, you see, he kem home one night mighty
tired—for he was out wid a party in the domain
cock-shootin' that day; and whin he got back to his
lodge he threw a few logs o' wood an the fire to
make himself comfortable, and he tuk whatever little
matther he had for his supper—and afther that he
felt himself so tired that he wint to bed. But you're
to understand that, though he wint to bed, it was
more for to rest himself like, than to sleep, for it was
airly; and so he jist wint into bed, and there he
divarted himself lookin' at the fire, that was blazin'
as merry as a bonfire an the hearth.
"Well, as he was lyin' that-a-way, jist thinkin' o'
nothin' at all, what should come into the place but a
fox. But I must tell you, what I forgot to tell you,
before, that the ranger's house was on the bordhers
o' the wood, and he had no one to live wid him but
himself, barrin' the dogs that he had the care iv, that
was his only companions, and he had a hole cut
an the door, with a swingin' boord to it, that the
dogs might go in or out accordin' as it plazed thim;
and, by dad, the fox kem in as I told you, through
the hole in the door, as bould as a ram, and walked
over to the fire, and sat down foreninst it.
"Now it was mighty provokin' that all the dogs
was out; they wor rovin' about the wood, you see,
lookin for to catch rabbits to ate, or some other
mischief, and so it happened that there wasn't as
much as one individual dog in the place; and, by
gor, I'll go bail the fox knew that right well before
he put his nose inside the ranger's lodge.
"Well, the ranger was in hopes some o' the dogs
id come home and ketch the chap, and he was loath
to stir hand or fut himself, afeared o' frightenin'
away the fox, but by gor, he could hardly keep his
timper at all at all, whin he seen the fox take his
pipe aff o' the hob where he left it afore he wint to
bed, and puttin' the bowl o' the pipe into the fire to
kindle it (it's as thrue as I'm here), he began to
smoke foreninst the fire, as nath'ral as any other
man you ever seen.
"'Musha, bad luck to your impidence, you long-tailed
blackguard,' says the ranger, 'and is it
smokin' my pipe you are? Oh, thin, by this and by
that, iv I had my gun convaynient to me, it's fire and
smoke of another sort, and what you wouldn't
bargain for, I'd give you,' says he. But still he was
loath to stir, hopin the dogs id come home; and
'By gor, my fine fellow,' says he to the fox, 'if one
o' the dogs comes home, saltpethre wouldn't save
you, and that's a sthrong pickle.'
"So with that he watched antil the fox wasn't
mindin' him, but was busy shakin' the cindhers out
o' the pipe whin he was done wid it, and so the
ranger thought he was goin' to go immediately
afther gettin an air o' the fire and a shough o' the
pipe; and so, says he, 'Faix, my lad, I won't let you
go so aisy as all that, as cunnin' as you think yourself;'
and with that he made a dart out o' bed, and
run over to the door, and got betune it and the fox,
'And now,' says he, 'your bread's baked, my buck,
and maybe my lord won't have a fine run out o' you,
and the dogs at your brish every yard, you morodin'
thief, and the divil mind you,' says he, 'for your
impidence—for sure, if you hadn't the impidence of
a highwayman's horse it's not into my very house,
undher my nose, you'd daar for to come:' and with
that he began to whistle for the dogs; and the fox,
that stood eyein' him all the time while he was
spakin', began to think it was time to be joggin'
whin he heard the whistle—and says the fox to himself,
'Troth, indeed, you think yourself a mighty
great ranger now,' says he, 'and you think you're
very cute, but upon my tail, and that's a big oath,
I'd be long sorry to let such a mallet-headed bog-throtter
as yourself take a dirty advantage o' me,
and I'll engage,' says the fox, 'I'll make you lave
the door soon and suddint,'—and with that he turned
to where the ranger's brogues was lyin' hard by
beside the fire, and, what would you think, but the
fox tuk one o' the brogues, and wint over to the fire,
and threw it into it.
"'I think that'll make you start,' says the fox.
"'Divil resave the start,' says the ranger—'that
won't do, my buck,' says he, 'the brogue may burn
to cindhers,' says he, 'but out o' this I won't stir;'
and thin, puttin' his fingers into his mouth, he gev a
blast of a whistle you'd hear a mile off, and shouted
for the dogs.
"'So that won't do,' says the fox—'well, I must
thry another offer,' says he, and with that he tuk up
the other brogue, and threw it into the fire too.
"'There, now,' says he, 'you may keep the other
company,' says he; 'and there's a pair o' you now,
as the divil said to his knee-buckles.'
"'Oh, you thievin' varment,' says the ranger,
'you won't lave me a tack to my feet; but no
matter,' says he, 'your head's worth more nor a pair
o' brogues to me any day, and by the Piper of
Blessintown, you're money in my pocket this minit,'
says he: and with that, the fingers was in his mouth
agin, and he was goin' to whistle, whin, what would
you think, but up sets the fox on his hunkers, and
puts his two fore-paws into his mouth, makin' game
o' the ranger—(bad luck to the lie I tell you.)
"'Well, the ranger, and no wondher, although in
a rage as he was, couldn't help laughin' at the
thought o' the fox mockin' him, and, by dad, he tuk
sitch a fit o' laughin' that he couldn't whistle—and
that was the 'cuteness o' the fox to gain time; but
whin his first laugh was over, the ranger recovered
himself, and gev another whistle; and so says the
fox, 'By my soul,' says he, 'I think it wouldn't be
good for my health to stay here much longer, and I
mustn't be triflin' with that blackguard ranger any
more,' says he, 'and I must make him sensible that
it is time to let me go, and though he hasn't
understandin' to be sorry for his brogues, I'll go bail
I'll make him lave that,' says he, 'before he'd say
sparables'—and with that what do you think the fox
done? By all that's good—and the ranger himself
told me out iv his own mouth, and said he would
never have b'lieved it, ownly he seen it—the fox tuk
a lighted piece iv a log out o' the blazin' fire, and
run over wid it to the ranger's bed, and was goin' to
throw it into the sthraw, and burn him out of house
and home; so when the ranger seen that he gev a
shout out iv him—
"'Hillo! hillo! you murtherin' villain,' says he,
'you're worse nor Captain Rock; is it goin' to burn
me out you are, you red rogue iv a Ribbonman?"
and he made a dart betune him and the bed, to save
the house from bein' burnt,—but, my jew'l, that was
all the fox wanted—and as soon as the ranger
quitted the hole in the door that he was standin'
foreninst, the fox let go the blazin' faggit, and made
one jump through the door and escaped.
"But before he wint, the ranger gev me his oath
that the fox turned round and gev him the most
contemptible look he ever got in his life, and showed
every tooth in his head with laughin', and at last he
put out his tongue at him, as much as to say—'You've
missed me like your mammy's blessin',' and
off wid him, like a flash o' lightnin'."