The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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When I ask children to tell me what they know about a fox, they almost always reply : ' He is a little red beast, very cowardly and cunning : he kills hens, and has a very bushy tail.'
This is all quite true ; but Eenard lives a very hard and extremely uncertain life; yet all the while is so dashing and gentlemanly, so quick and clever, that you must forgive him one or two faults.
He begins his life in a nice warm nest of hay, dry leaves and moss, at the bottom of a deep burrow, generally in a sandy bank. His mother tends him, fondles him, plays with him, as only a mother can; her one ambition being to keep him concealed from human sight. Once a man came by a particular burrow with his dog, hung about for some time near by, and then went away again. That night, Mother Fox took her little one up in her mouth by the nape of his neck, and set off to find a safer home. Hardly had she gone ten yards from her burrow when a dog jumped out of some bushes and gave chase.
Mother Fox flew like the wind over hill and dale, on and on, till her breath began to come in short, sharp gasps, and she felt she would soon have to turn and face her pursuer; But never once did she dream of dropping her little one and thereby saving herself ; oh, no! cowardly as foxes are ever said to be, the mothers will alway die fighting for their young.
Happily for this mother, however, a long stretch of
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