Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/564

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Pike. The Mink gaped at him too. "Oh, how I wish I could eat that one. Oh, if I could only eat either one of the two wouldn't I have a full stomach?" But the Mink dared not tackle the Pike any more than the Pickerel. "But isn't there some way I can manage it?" he thought in his heart. "Perhaps I can fix it so as to get one of them. If I could only start them fighting, then perhaps one would kill the other, and I could eat that one."

So the Mink went back to the Pickerel and found him still basking in the spot where he had first seen him. "Pickerel," he called down to him, "The Pike is telling lies about you." The Pickerel answered, "What right has he to speak of me at all? Such an ugly looking fish too, with whitish eyes!" The Mink trotted back to where he had left the Pike. "Pike, Pickerel is telling lies about you!" The Pike called back in answer, "What business has he to speak of me at all?—A fish with such a long homely jaw!" The Mink ran back to the Pickerel and tattled again. "How dare he lie about me? He is an ugly, short-bodied, pot-bellied beast," said Pickerel. The Mink hurried back to the Pike. "Say Pike, Pickerel is lying about you again." This time the Pike was very angry indeed, and uttering the worst curse that a fish can, he said, "How dare he talk like that? A thing with spots on him! Oh, you bad Pickerel! I know that Mink is telling the truth!" Mink ran back and tattled some more. "Pickerel is at it again, telling more lies about you!" "Well, then, he and I will have to fight it out," was the reply.

Mink ran back and said, "Pickerel is on his way up-stream to fight you." "All right, I'll fight him," said Pike, and he started down stream. The two fish met half-way and fought, while the Mink stood on the bank and watched. They bit each other and rolled over and over, churning up the water. As they rolled Mink could see the