156 THE WICKED WOLVERINE
would have it, and I certainly sha'n't move now till I am forced to.'
' I will call my brothers,' answered the wolverine. ' There are many of them in the forest, and you will soon see that they are stronger than you.' And he called, and called, and called, till wolves and foxes and all sorts of other creatures all came running to see what was the matter.
' How did you get under that rock ?' asked they, making a ring round him; but they had to repeat their question several times before the wolverine would answer, for he, like many other persons, found it hard to confess that he had brought his troubles on himself.
' Well, I was dull, and wanted someone to play with me,' he said at last, in a sulky voice, ' and I challenged the rock to catch me. Of course I thought I could run the fastest; but I tripped, and it rolled on me. It was just an accident.'
' It serves you right for being so silly,' said they ; but they pushed and hauled at the rock for a long time without making it move an inch.
' You are no good at all,' cried the wolverine crossly, for it was suffering great pain, ' and if you cannot get me free, I shall see what my friends the lightning and the thunder can do.' And he called loudly to the lightning to come and help him as quickly as possible.
In a few minutes a dark cloud came rolling up the sky, giving out such terrific claps of thunder that the wolves and the foxes and all the other creatures ran helter-skelter in all directions. But, frightened though they were, they did not forget to beg the lightning to take off the wolverine's coat and to free his legs, but to be careful not to hurt him. So the lightning disappeared into the cloud for a moment to gather up fresh strength, and then came rushing down, right upon the rock, which it sent flying in all directions, and took off the wolverine's coat so neatly that, though it was torn into tiny shreds, the wolverine himself was quite unharmed.