198 HOW SOME WILD ANIMALS BECAME TAME
will never come back ! You have got the most beautiful skin in the worldójust the kind that everyone is want≠ing, and they will be sure to kill you and strip you of it.'
' I had not thought of that,' said the bear, whose face turned white, only nobody could see it. ' If you are certain that they would be so wickedóbut perhaps you are jealous because nobody has invited you ? '
' Oh, nonsense !' replied the boy angrily, ' do as you see. It is your skin, and not mine; I don't care what becomes of it! ' And he walked quickly on with his head in the air.
The bear waited until he was out of sight, and then followed him slowly, for he felt in his heart that the boy's advice was good, though he was too proud to say so.
The boy soon grew tired of walking along the road, and turned off into the woods, where there were bushes he could jump and streams he could wade; but he had not gone far before he met the wolf.
' Where are you going ? ' asked he, for it was not the first time he had seen him.
' Oh, just to the miller's marriage,' answered the wolf, as the bear had done before him. ' It is rather tiresome, of courseóweddings are always so stupid; but still one must be good-natured ! '
' Don't go !' said the boy again. ' Your skin is so thick and warm, and winter is not far off now. They will kill you, and strip it from you.'
The wolf's jaw dropped in astonishment and terror. ' Do you really think that would happen ? ' he gasped.
' Yes, to be sure, I do,' answered the boy. ' But it is your affair, not mine. So good-morning,' and on he went. The wolf stood still for a few minutes, for he was trembling all over, and then crept quietly back to his cave.
Next the boy met the fox, whose lovely coat of silvery grey was shining in the sun.
' You look very fine ! ' said the boy, stopping to admire him, ' are you going to the miller's wedding too ? '