D RAKESTAIL was very little, that is why he was called Drakes-tail ; but tiny as he was he had brains, and he knew what he was about, for having begun with nothing he ended by amassing a hundred crowns. Now the King of the country, who was very extravagant and never kept any money, having heard that Drakestail had some, went one day in his own person to borrow his hoard, and, my word, in those days Drakestail was not a little proud of having lent money to the King. But after the first and second year, seeing that they never even dreamed of paying the interest, he became uneasy, so much so that at last he resolved to go and see His Majesty himself, and get repaid. So one fine morning Drakestail, very spruce and fresh, takes the road, singing: ' Quack, quack, quack, when shall I get my money back ? '
He had not gone far when he met friend Fox, on his rounds that way.
' Good-morning, neighbour,' says the friend, ' where are you off to so early ? '
'1 am going to the King for what he owes me.'
' Oh ! take me with thee ! '
Drakestail said to himself: ' One can't have too many friends.' . . . ' I will,' says he, 'but going on all-fours you will soon be tired. Make yourself quite small, get into my throat—go into my gizzard and I will carry you.'
' Happy thought! ' says friend Fox.
He takes bag and baggage, and, presto ! is gone like a letter into the post.
And Drakestail is off again, all spruce and fresh, still singing : ' Quack, quack, quack, when shall I have my money back ? '
He had not gone far when he met his lady-friend Ladder, leaning on her wall.