Page:Aino folk-tales.djvu/27

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11
AINO FOLK-LORE.

follows: "What profitable thing do you allude to? After hearing about it, I will go with you if it sounds likely to be profitable; and if not, not." The fox outside spoke thus: "The profitable thing to be done is this. I will come here to-morrow about the time of the midday meal. You must be waiting for me then, and we will go off together. If you take the shape of a horse, and we go off together, I taking the shape of a man and riding on your back, we can go down to the shore, where dwell human beings possessed of plenty of food and all sorts of other things. As there is sure to be among the people some one who wants a horse, I will sell you to him who thus" wants a horse. I can then buy a quantity of precious things and of food. Then I shall run away; and you, having the appearance of a horse, will be led out to eat grass, and be tied up somewhere on the hillside. Then, if I come and help you to escape, and we divide the food and the precious things equally between us, it will be profitable for both of us." Thus spoke the fox outside the hole; and the fox inside the hole was very glad, and said: "Come and fetch me early to-morrow, and we will go off together."

The man was hidden in the shade of the tree, and had been listening. Then the fox who had been standing outside went away, and the man, too, went home for the night. But he came back next day to the mouth of the hole, and spoke thus, imitating the voice of the fox whom he had heard speaking outside the hole the day before: "Here I am. Come out at once! If you will turn into a horse, we will go down to the shore." The fox came out. It was a big fox. The man said: "I have come already turned into a man. If you turn into a horse, it will not matter even if we are seen by other people." The fox shook itself, and became a large chestnut [lit. red] horse. Then the two went off together, and came to a very rich village, plentifully provided with everything. The man said: "I will sell this horse to anybody who wants one." As the horse was a very fine one, every one wanted to buy it. So the man bartered it for a quantity of food and precious things, and then went away.

Now the horse was such a peculiarly fine one that its new owner did not like to leave it out-of-doors, but always kept it in the house. He shut the door, and he shut the window, and cut grass to feed it