THE MARVELLOUS MUSICIAN
a long cord round the little Hare's neck, the other end of which he fastened to the tree.
' Now, my merry little friend,' said the Musician, ' run twenty times round the tree.'
The little Hare obeyed, and when it had run twenty times round the tree, the cord had twisted itself twenty times round the trunk, so that the poor little beast was held a fast prisoner, and it might bite and tear as much as it liked, it couldn't free itself, and the cord only cut its tender neck.
' Wait there till I return,' said the Musician, and went on his way.
In the meantime the Wolf had pulled and bitten and scratched at the stone, till at last he succeeded in getting his paws out. Full of anger, he hurried after the Musician, determined when he met him to tear him to pieces. When the Fox saw him running by, he called out as loud as he could :
' Brother Wolf, come to my rescue, the Musician has deceived me too.'
The Wolf pulled the branches down, bit the cord in two, and set the Fox free. So they went on their way together, both vowing vengeance on the Musician. They found the poor imprisoned little Hare, and having set him free also, they all set out to look for their enemy.
During this time the Musician had once more played his fiddle, and had been more fortunate in the result. The sounds pierced to the ears of a poor woodman, who instantly left his work, and with his hatchet under his arm came to listen to the music.
' At last I've got a proper sort of companion,' said the Musician, ' for it was a human being I wanted all along, and not a wild animal.'
And he began playing so enchantingly that the poor man stood there as if bewitched, and his heart leapt for joy as he listened.
And as he stood thus, the Wolf and Fox and little Hare came up, and the woodman saw at once that they meant mischief. He lifted his glittering axe and placed himself in front of the Musician, as much as to say : 'If you touch a hair of his head, beware, for yoH will have to answer for it to me.'
Then the beasts were frightened, and they all three ran back into the wood, and the Musician played the woodman one of his best tunes, by way of thanks, and then continued his way.1