Somalilandsun – In his third series of articles under the Title “Another Tale” Prof Abdisalam Yassin the author of the “Without our Knowledge” pen’s an interesting Norse folk tale that relates how the tip of the fox’s tale has become white. Enjoy reading it.
Another Tale: The Tail of the Fox
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Once upon a time there was an old woman who had many cows and many sheep. However, she was not happy. She was old and alone. At the same time, she had to look after her cows and sheep and do all the house work. One day she decided to look for a herdsman who could help her to tend the animals.
“I must have a herdsman to look after my cows and my sheep,” she thought and went out to look for a herdsman. She looked first in the fields and then in the forest, but nowhere could she find a herdsman. As she was walking down the path to her home, she met a bear.
“Where are you going, old lady?” asked the bear.
“I am looking for a herdsman to look after my cows and my sheep,” she answered.
“Will you have me?”
“Yes, if you know how to call my animals gently.”
“Ugh, ugh,” called the bear. He tried to call softly, but he had always growled before and he could do nothing but growl now.
“No, no,” said the old woman, “your voice is too loud. Every cow in the field would run, and every sheep will hide, if you growl like that. I will not have you.”
Then the old woman continued her search till she met a wolf.
“Where are you going, grandmother?” Asked the wolf.
“I am looking for a herdsman to look after my cows and my sheep,” answered the old woman.
“Will you have me?” asked the wolf.
“Yes,” she said, “if you know how to call my animals gently.”
“Ho-y, ho-y,” called the wolf.
“Your voice is too high,” said the old woman. “My cows and my sheep will tremble whenever they hear it. I will not have you.”
Then she continued her search till she met a fox.
“I am so glad to meet you gentle lady,” said the fox. “Where are you going this bright morning?”
“I am going home now,” she said, “for I cannot find a herdsman to look after my cows and my sheep. The bear growls and the wolf shrills. I do not know what I can do, for I am old and alone and I cannot herd my animals and do all the house work.”
“Oh, no,” said the cunning fox, “you are not old, but any one as beautiful as you must not watch sheep in the fields. I shall be very glad to do the work for you if you will let me.”
“I know that my sheep will like you,” said the old lady.
“And I know that I shall like them, too,” said the fox.
“Can you call them gently, Mr. Fox?” she asked.
“Del-dal-halow, del-dal-halow,” called the fox, in so gentle a voice that it was like music.
“That is good, Mr. Fox,” said the old woman. “Come home with me, and I will take you to the fields where my animals go.”
Each night, when the fox came home, one of the sheep or one of the cows was missing.
“Mr. Fox, where is my cow, or where is my sheep?” The old woman would ask.
The fox would answer with a sorrowful look, “The bear came out of the woods, and he ate it,” or, “The wolf slyly came through the fields and took it away.”
The old woman was sorry to lose her sheep and her cows, but she thought, “Mr. Fox must be even sadder than I. I will go out to the field and carry him a drink of cream.”
She went to the field, and there stood the fox with the body of a sheep. The old woman immediately realized that it was the fox that had killed and ate every one of her cows and sheep.
When the fox saw the old woman coming, he started to run away.
“You cruel, cunning fox!” she cried.
She had nothing to throw at him but the cream, so she threw it. The cream struck the tip of his tail. “Ohoo!” the cunning fox laughed and said to himself, “Now, I have some cream on the tip of my tale to eat.” So, he twisted around and tried to lick the cream, but it stuck fast and could not come off. And from that day till now, the tip of the fox’s tail is as white as cream.
Earlier series of Another Tale