Classic Children's Literature
                         FOX AND THE GRAPES

   Once upon a time . . . in a wood there lived a very crafty quick-witted 
fox. The rabbits, rats, the birds and all the other creatures fled at the 
sight of him, for they all knew how cruel and famished he was. And since his 
prey kept fearfully out of sight, the fox had no choice but to haunt the 
neighbourhood buildings in the hope of finding something to eat. The first 
time, he was in luck. Near a lonely peasant's cottage, only a low fence stood 
between him and the hen run, and there he left death and destruction behind 
   "What careless men, leaving such tender fat hens unguarded," he said to 
himself as he trotted away, still munching.
   A few days later, hungry once more, he decided to visit the same hen run 
again. He crept up to the fence. A thread of smoke curled from the cottage 
chimney, but all was quiet. With a great bound, he leapt into the hen run. The
cackling hens scattered, and the fox was already clutching one in his jaws 
when a stone hit him on the side.
   "Wicked brute!" yelled a man waving a stick. "Now I've got you!"
   To make matters worse, up raced a large dog, snarling viciously. The fox 
dropped the hen and tried to jump out of the hen run. At the first try, he 
fell back, perhaps weak with fright. He could almost feel the dog's fangs sink
into his ear, but with a desperate jump, he got over the fence. The yells and 
stones streamed after the bruised fox as he ran into the wood. In a nearby 
glade, he glanced round to make sure that he was not being followed. "Bad 
luck!" he said to himself. "All those hens . . ." His mouth was watering and 
he could feel gnawing hunger pains. Right above his head stretched a vine, 
laden with bunches of big ripe grapes. "Well, if there's nothing else . . ." 
muttered the fox, jumping up towards the grapes. But the bunches were hanging 
just beyond his reach. The fox then took a running jump at them, but without
success. And though he tried over and over again, the grapes remalned beyond 
his grasp.
   "Craw! Craw! Craw!" laughed a crow overhead, mocking the disappointed fox.
   "Sour grapes!" exclaimed the fox loudly. I'11 come back when they're ripe."
And thrusting out his chest to give himself airs, though still smarting from 
the blows he had received, he set off towards the woods with an empty stomach.

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