THE HARE AND THE HEDGEHOG.
"Taking a walk !" cried the hare, with a laugh ; " I don't think your legs are much suited for walking."
This answer made the hedgehog very angry. He could bear anything but a reference to his bandy legs, so he said, " You consider your legs are better than mine, I suppose ?"
" Well, I rather think they are," replied the hare.
" I should like to prove it," said the hedgehog. " I'll wager anything that if we were to run a race I should beat."
"That is a capital joke," cried the hare, "to think you could beat me with your bandy legs. However, if you wish it, I have no objection to try. What will you bet?"
" A golden Louis d'or and a bottle of wine."
"Agreed," said the hare; "and we may as well begin at once."
" No, no," said the hedgehog; "not in such a hurry as that. I must go home first and get something to eat. In half an hour I will be here again."
The hare agreed to wait, and away went the hedgehog, thinking to himself, " The hare trusts in his long legs, but I will conquer him. He thinks himself a very grand gentleman, but he is only a stupid fellow, after all, and he will have to pay for his pride."
On arriving at home, the hedgehog said to his wife, " Wife, dress yourself as quickly as possible; you must go to the field with me."
" What for ?" she asked.
" Well, I have made a bet with the hare of a Louis d'or and a bottle of wine, that I will beat him in a race, which we are going to run."
"Why, husband," cried Mrs. Hedgehog, with a scream, "what are you thinking of; have you lost your senses ?"
" Hold your noise, ma'am," said the hedgehog, "and don't interfere with my affairs. What do you know about a man's business ? Get ready at once to go with me."
What could Mrs. Hedgehog say after this? She could only obey and follow her husband, whether she liked it or not. As they walked along together, he said to her, " Now pay attention to what I say. You see that large field? Well, we are going to race across it. The hare will run in one furrow, and I in another. All you have to do is to hide yourself in the furrow at the opposite end of the field from which we start, and when the hare comes up to you, pop up your head and say, Here I am.' "