Once on a time there was a bear, who sat on a
hillside in the sun and slept. Just then Reynard
came slouching by and caught sight of him.
“There you sit taking your ease, grandsire,”
said the fox. “Now, see if I don’t play you a
trick.” So he went and caught three field-mice
and laid them on a stump close under Bruin’s
nose, and then he bawled out into his ear, “Bo!
Bruin, here’s Peter the Hunter, just behind
this stump”; and as he bawled this out he
ran off through the wood as fast as ever he
Bruin woke up with a start, and when he saw
the three little mice, he was as mad as a March
hare, and was going to lift up his paw and crush
them, for he thought it was they who had bellowed
in his ear.
But just as he lifted it he caught sight of Reynard’s
tail among the bushes by the woodside,
and away he set after him, so that the underwood
crackled as he went, and, to tell the truth, Bruin
was so close upon Reynard that he caught hold
of his off hind foot just as he was crawling into
an earth under a pine-root. So there was Reynard
in a pinch; but for all that he had his wits
about him, for he screeched out, “Slip the pine-root
and catch Reynard’s foot,” and so the
silly bear let his foot slip and laid hold of the
root instead. But by that time Reynard was safe
inside the earth, and called out:
“I cheated you that time, too, didn’t I, grandsire?”
“Out of sight isn’t out of mind,” growled
Bruin down the earth, and was wild with rage.