A Fable: The Fox and the Rabbit

A very, very long time ago there lived many animals in a forest.  Among them were a Fox and a Rabbit.  The Fox thought himself to be the cleverest of animals.  Much more clever than the Rabbit.  So much so, that the Fox came up with a clever plan to fool the Rabbit.

One day, the Fox approached the Rabbit with a leather pouch he found by the creek.  He said to her, “Rabbit, I have for you a pouch into which many, many berries will fit.  Winter approaches, and without much food your children will starve.  But I will offer you a deal.  I will fill this pouch for you with berries and give it to you, and all I ask for is the smallest of your litter.  Without this, you will lose at least three or four of them to starvation.  But the runt will die either way.  Shouldn’t you save the rest?”

The Rabbit thought on this for some time.  She was heartbroken, but she knew the Fox was right.  So she agreed.  She said, “Bring me the pouch full of berries and we will have a deal.  But there cannot be room left over for even one more berry.  We need all we can get to survive the Winter.”

The Fox left and went back to the creek where he found the pouch.  Thinking himself very clever, he put the pouch in the creek and placed a rock under it.  He left it there for several days, until the coldness of the water shrunk the pouch considerably.  Now only a few berries could fit into it.

He spent the rest of the day picking berries, a task that would have taken days and days with a larger pouch.  He brought it to the Rabbit.

“Here are your berries, Rabbit.  Now give me your smallest child.”

The Rabbit looked upon the pouch.  She saw that the Fox had tricked her, and that there was not enough food to survive even the first moon of Winter.  So she refused.

But the Fox was furious.  “We had a deal!” he screamed.  “Now give me your child!”

The other animals of the forest heard him shouting and came over to investigate.  When they saw that the Fox was trying to trick the Rabbit, they tore him limb from limb and put his body under a rock in the creek.

The Rabbit and her young starved to death in the long, cold Winter.