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The Bear and the Fox who made a Bet

There was once a Bear who came trudging across a swamp carrying a fat fig. The Fox sat high on a stone by the edge of the swamp. "How do you do, grandpa," said the Fox. "What is that good thing you have there?" he asked. "Pork!" said the Bear. "I, too, have something that tastes very good," said the Fox. "What's that?" said the Bear. "It's the largest bees' nest I've ever found," said the Fox. "Is that so?" said the Bear, grinning and drooling. How good he thought it would be to have a little honey! "Shall we swap?" said the Bear. "Oh no, Not me!" said the Fox

But then they made a bet, and agreed that they were to name three different kinds of trees. If the Fox could say it faster than the Bear, he should get one bit of the pork. But if the Bear could say it faster, he was to have one suck at the nest. He would certainly manage to drain all the honey in one suck, thought the Bear.

that will be all right with me," said the Fox. "But if I win, I want you to pull all the bristles where I want to bite." "To be sure. I'll do it if you can't manage it yourself," said the Bear. So then they got ready to name the trees. "Spruce, fir and pine!" growled the Bear in a gruff voice. But this was only one tree, for spruce is nothing but fir. "Ash, aspen, oak!" shrieked the Fox so the forest rang. Now he had won the bet, and he rushed down and took the heart out of the pig in one bite, and was about to run away. But now the Bear was angry because the Fox had taken the choicest part of the whole pig, and, catching the Fox on the run, he held him fast by his tail. "Wait a bit!" shouted the Bear and was white with rage. "Well, it's the same to me, grandpa. If you'll let me go, I'll give you a taste of honey," said the Fox. When the Bear heard that, he let go his hold, and the Fox went up after the honey. "Here on this bees' nest," said the Fox, I'm holding a leaf, and under that leaf is a hole, which you can suck through," he said. And at the same moment as he held up the nest under the Bear's nose, he took the leaf away, hopped up on the stone, and began to giggle and laugh. For there was neither a bees' nest nor honey. It was a wasp's nest as big as a man's head, full of wasps; and the wasps came swarming out of the nest and stung the Bear's eyes and ears and mouth and nose. And he was so busy scraping them off that he had no time to think of the Fox. From that day all bears have been afraid of wasps.

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