310 THE MINK AND THE WOLF
'Oh, something quite easy,' replied the mink. 'I only want you — between to-day and the next full moon — to gnaw through the bows and paddles of the wolf people, so that directly they use them they will break. But of course you must manage it so that they notice nothing.'
'Of course,' answered the mouse, 'nothing is easier; but as the full moon is to-morrow night, and there is not much time, I had better begin at once.' Then the mink thanked her, and went his way; but before he had gone far he came back again.
'Perhaps, while you are about the wolf's house seeing after the bows, it would do no harm if you were to make that knot-hole in the wall a little bigger,' said he. 'Not large enough to draw attention, of course; but it might come in handy.' And with another nod he left her.
The next evening the mink washed and brushed himself carefully and set out for the feast. He smiled to himself as he looked at the dusty track, and perceived that though the marks of wolves' feet were many, not a single guest was to be seen anywhere. He knew very well what that meant; but he had taken his precautions and was not afraid.
The house door stood open, but through a crack the mink could see the wolves crowding in the corner behind it. However, he entered boldly, and as soon as he was fairly inside the door was shut with a bang, and the whole herd sprang at him, with their red tongues hanging out of their mouths. Quick as they were they were too late, for the mink was already through the knot-hole and racing for his canoe.
The knot-hole was too small for the wolves, and there were so many of them in the hut that it was some time before they could get the door open. Then they seized the bows and arrows which were hanging on the walls and, once outside, aimed at the flying mink; but as they pulled the bows broke in their paws, so they threw them away, and bounded to the shore, with all their