THE WONDERFUL FIDDLER.
self," he said ; " if I could only but meet with a companion besides my fiddle, I should be happier," Then he slipped his violin from his shoulder and commenced playing so merrily that it echoed through the wood.
Before long a wolf came out of the thicket and trowed towards him. "Ah ! here comes a wolf," he exclaimed, "but I don't want him for a companion."
But the wolf stepped nearer and said, "Dear fiddler, how beautifully you do play. I wish I could learn."
" You could learn very quickly," replied the fiddler, " if you will do all I tell you."
" Oh ! indeed, I will listen and obey you in everything, as if I were your scholar and you my master."
" Come along then," said the fiddler, and they walked away together.
They had not gone far when they came to a hollow oak tree, in which was a slit wide enough to push the hand through. " See," cried the fiddler, "if you wish to learn to fiddle, just put your two fore-feet in there," and he pointed to the rent in the tree. The wolf obeyed, and the fiddler with a large stone quickly wedged the feet of the wolf in the tree so fast that he could not move and found himself a prisoner. " Stay there till I come back," said the musician, and w-ent his way.
Afterwandering on for some distance, he again began to murmur to himself, " I am still all alone in the wood, suppose I try for another partner," so he took down his violin and played with such spirit that the tones resounded on every side and presently a fox made his appearance. "Ah ! here comes a fox," said the fiddler, "but I have no wish for his society."
" What beautiful music," exclaimed the fox. " I should like to be able to play like you."
" There is no difficulty in your learning to play as I do," answered the fiddler, " if you will only do as I tell you."
"Indeed I will," he replied; " I will obey you as a scholar obeys his master."
" Follow me then," said the fiddler; so they walked on together till they came out upon a pathway on each side of which grew high shrubs.
The fcddler stopped, and bending down a branch of one of