THE FOX IN THE WELL

By Ramaswami Raju

A FOX fell into a well and was holding hard to some roots at the side of it, just above the water. A Wolf, who was passing by, saw him, and said, "Hello, Reynard, after all you have fallen into a well!"

"But not without a purpose, and not without the means of getting out of it," said the Fox.

"What do you mean?" said the Wolf.

"Why," said the Fox, "there is a drought all over the country now, and the water in this well is the only means of appeasing the thirst of the thousands that live in this neighborhood. They held a meeting, and requested me to keep the water from going down lower; so I am holding it up for the public good."

"What will be your reward?" said the 'Wolf.

"They will give me a pension, and save me the trouble of going about every day in quest of food, not to speak of innumerable other privileges that will be granted me. Further, I am not to stay here all day. I have asked a kinsman of mine, to whom I have communicated the secret of holding up the water, to relieve me from time to time. Of course he will also get a pension, and have other privileges. I expect him here shortly."

"Ah, Reynard, may I relieve you, then? May I hope to get a pension and other privileges? You know what a sad lot is mine, especially in winter."

"Certainly," said the Fox; "but you must get a long rope, that I may come up and let you in.

So the Wolf got a rope. Up came the Fox and down went the wo1f, when the former observed, with a laugh, "My dear sir, you may remain there till doomsday, or till the owner of the well throws up your carcass," and left the place.