THE FOX AND THE LAPP 249
not strong enough to pull against the bear, and slowly he was dragged forth and his body flung over the bear's neck. In this manner they set out down the road, the fox's tail being always in the bear's mouth.
After they had gone some way, they passed a tree-stump, on which a bright coloured woodpecker was tapping.
I Ah ! those were better times when I used to paint all the birds such gay colours,' sighed the fox.
' What are you saying, old fellow ? ' asked the bear.
II ? Oh, I was saying nothing,' answered the fox drearily. ' Just carry me to your cave and eat me up as quick as you can.'
The bear was silent, and thought of his supper; and the two continued their journey till they reached another tree with a woodpecker tapping on it.
' Ah ! those were better times when I used to paint all the birds such gay colours,' said the fox again to himself.
' Couldn't you paint me too?' asked the bear suddenly.
But the fox shook his head; for he was always acting, even if no one was there to see him do it.
' You bear pain so badly,' he replied, in a thoughtful voice, ' and you are impatient besides, and could never put up with all that is necessary. Why, you would first have to dig a pit, and then twist ropes of willow, and drive in posts and fill the hole with pitch, and, last of all, set it on fire. Oh, no ; you would never be able to do all that.'
' It does not matter a straw how hard the work is,' answered the bear eagerly, ' I will do it every bit.' And as he spoke he began tearing up the earth so fast that soon a deep pit was ready, deep enough to hold him.
' That is all right,' said the fox at last, ' I see I was mistaken in you. Now sit here, and I will bind you.' So the bear sat down on the edge of the pit, and the fox sprang on his back, which he crossed with the willow ropes, and then set fire to the pitch. It burnt up in an