Back in the old days, Bear had a tail which was his proudest
possession. It was long and black and glossy. Bear used to wave
it around just so that people would look at it. Fox saw this. Fox,
as everyone knows, is a trickster Fox likes nothing better than
fooling others. He decided to play a trick on Bear.
It was the time of year when Hatho, the Spirit of Frost,
had swept across the land, Covering the lakes with ice and pounding
on the trees with his big war club. Fox made a hole in the ice,
right near a place where Bear liked to walk. By the time Bear came
by, all around Fox, in a big circle, were big trout and fat perch.
Just as Bear was about to ask Fox what he was doing, Fox twitched
his tail which he had sticking through that hole in the ice and
pulled out a huge trout.
"Greetings, Brother," said Fox. "How are you
this fine day?" "Greetings," answered Bear, looking
at the big circle of fat fish. "I am well, Brother. But what
are you doing?" (bear) "I am fishing," answered Fox.
"Would you like to try?" (Fox) "Oh, yes," said
Bear, as he started to lumber over to Fox's fishing hole. But Fox
stopped him. "Wait, Brother," he said, "This place
will not be good. As you can see, I have already caught all the
fish. Let us make you a new fishing spot where you can catch many
big trout." (fox)
agreed and so he followed Fox to the new place. A place where, as
Fox knew well. The lake was too shallow to catch the winter fish.
The fish which always stay in the deepest water. He sat down next
to the hole. Bear watched as Fox made the hole in the ice. He thought
of all the many fish he would soon catch. "Now," Fox said,
"I tell you what youll do. Dont think, clear your
mind. Do not even think of a song or the fish will hear you. Turn
your back to the hole and place your tail inside it.
Bear nodded, "I will do exactly as you say." He placed
his long beautiful black tail in the icy water and turned his back.
Soon a fish will come and grab your tail and you can pull him out."
(fox) "I will hide over here where the fish cannot see me,"
said Fox. "When a fish grabs your tail, I will shout. Then
you must pull as hard as you can to catch your fish. But you must
be very patient. Do not move at all until I tell you." (fox)
Fox watched Bear for a time. Then, very quietly, sneaked back
to his own house and went to bed. The next morning he woke up and
thought of Bear. "I wonder if he is still there," Fox
said to himself. "I'll go and check on him."
So Fox went back to the ice covered pond and what do you think
he saw? He saw what looked like a little white hill in the middle
of the ice. It had snowed during the night and covered Bear. Bear
had fallen asleep while waiting for Fox to tell him to pull his
And Bear was snoring. His snores were so loud that the ice was
shaking. It was so funny that Fox rolled with laughter. But when
he was through laughing, he decided the time had come to wake up
poor Bear. He crept very close to Bear's ear, took a deep breath,
and then shouted: "Now, Bear!!!"
Bear woke up and pulled his long tail hard as he could. But
his tail had been caught in the ice which had frozen over during
the night and as he pulled, it broke off. Whack! just like that.
Bear turned around to look at the fish he had caught. Instead saw
his long lovely tail caught in the ice.
"Ohhh," he moaned, "ohhh, Fox. I will get you
for this." Fox leaped aside and was gone. Fox, even though
he was laughing, he is faster than Bear. Bear couldnt catch
him. So it is that even to this day Bears have short tails. And
thats why he dont like him. If you ever hear a bear
moaning, it is probably because he remembers the trick Fox played
on him long ago. He is mourning for his