Page:Aino folk-tales.djvu/33

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17
AINO FOLK-LORE.

house, and whence they had come, for the doors were not open. So he determined just to divert himself awhile by watching their frolics, and then to kill them. Meanwhile the rat had nibbled a hole in the box. Then getting into it, he rescued the charm, and went out again through the passage in the ground. The little boy and girl disappeared too; how, the ogre could not tell. He made to pursue them through the door, when he saw them fleeing. But on second thoughts he came to the conclusion that, having once been taken in by a fox, there was no use in further endeavours. So he did not follow the three animals as they fled away.

They returned to the village; the puppy and the fox-cub to their master's house, the rat to its own place. The puppy and the fox-cub took home with them the charm, and placed it by their master's pillow, playing about near him, and pulling his clothes a little with their teeth. At length he lifted his head and saw the charm. Then he worshipped it with great joy and gratitude. Afterwards the fox-cub and the puppy caused him to see in a dream how the charm had been recovered through the rat's assistance. So he worshipped the rat also.

For this reason the Ainos do not think so very badly of the rat after all. The fox, too, though often pursued by dogs, will sometimes make friends with them; and even when a dog is pursuing a fox, it will not bite the latter if it turns its face towards the pursuer. — (Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 21st November, 1886.)


xiii. — The Fox, the Otter, and the Monkey.

In very ancient days, at the beginning of the world, there were a fox, an otter, and a monkey, all three of whom lived on the most intimate terms of friendship.

One day the fox spoke to the other two as follows: "What do you say to our going off somewhere, and stealing food and treasures from the Japanese?" His two companions having consented, they all went together to a distant place, and stole a bag of beans, a bag of salt, and a mat from the house of a very rich man. When they had