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The Fox that Wanted Nine Golden Tales $3.95 $2.95

Author: Kishi Mariko

About: The Fox That Wanted Nine Golden Tails is about a Chinese Fox, who, “although he looked just like any other fox, knew things that other foxes have never heard about even to this day.”

There may be political interpretations of current events read into the story if one is inclined to read into such stories such things—and if so, there is also a solution.

Greed, envy, egotism, anger, theft, philosophy, love and good counsel are handled beautifully and humorously.

What is told between the lines is full of meaning, clear as crystal and enchantingly told.

Excerpt:

The frog liked to show how far he could jump, the deer always wanted to run a race, the monkey would put up a target for them to throw at, the bear would dance on his hind legs while the crickets and the grasshoppers were the band, and when the circus was over, the porcupine would invite them to a quill-ting party.

Or, if they grew tired of fun and frolic, the pouyou would tell them stories about a land far beyond the Sun's Nest, where the birds and butterflies, the parrots and lizards were redder than red and greener than green; and again, of a wide world of water with houses that rocked all the time, floating on top of it; but where these houses came from or where they went, he had been much too sick to find out, although he had been in one of them for a whole month!

And when the thunder rumbled and flashes of lightning shot through the leaves, the owls shut their eyes in terror and the poor little fireflies put out their lights, and they would whisper to each other that the dragon must be around. Then they would all scamper away and hide until morning—or what they thought was morning.

And then when it was daylight for sure, they wouldn't be a bit afraid, and each one would say the other one ran first, and he only ran because some one behind pushed him and he couldn't help it. And they would pooh! pooh! and declare in a chorus that they didn't believe there was any such thing as a dragon! But the fox, who was usually a big talker, never had anything to say except once, when he told them quite seriously he hoped there was a real, true, live dragon. But no one believed him.

They did not know that when he was a baby fox, only about the size of a cat, and lived in the Fertile Plain of Sweet Flags, one cool and dewy night, his mother made a bed of leaves behind a log and, as she cuddled him close to her warm body she told him how to know if the dogs were anywhere around.

She said when the wind brought him a hot breath out of a cold nose, a breath that smelt like it had a bark in it, he must listen with both ears, and after that if he heard a sound that was neither hungry nor angry, but came full-tilt out of a throat just bursting with joy, he would know that the dogs were on his trail, for they only chased animals for the fun of catching them, and because a fox was so cunning it was great sport to run him down. And if he saw strange tracks, in which had lodged a caterpillar's hair on an ant's egg, the dogs had passed the day before, but if the tracks were bare, the feet that made them were not far away.

And she added, if he were smart enough never, never to let the dogs get after him, when he was a thousand years old a dragon would give him nine golden tails! It was true no one had ever seen a fox with more than one tail, but in the Legend, or Tails of Ancient Things, which was written on the bark of the oldest trees, it had always been said that there would be one fox who would in this way become the hero of all foxdom, and perhaps he would be that very one if he learned to be clever and careful. And, as his mother was the wisest fox on earth, he knew that she knew what she was talking about, and he was glad now to hear there was a real dragon somewhere about.

In fact, Napantantutu was exactly the kind of a home the fox was looking for, dragon and all, and he was quite sure he could pass a thousand quiet years here without ever hearing the bark of a dog. He no longer jumped at the sound of every crackling twig or put his ear to the ground before he sat down to rest, and often he would lie for hours on some cool knoll licking his paws and thinking up some prank to play on his neighbors. And he grew fat and saucy and lazy, and whisked his one insignificant tail proudly as he walked.

But alas! there came an end to these delightful days. Late in the afternoon of his hundredth birthday, as he stood watching two ants wage a fierce battle over a grain of rice, close behind him he heard a sound that made his very blood run cold. He raised his head and sniffed the air, then stood trembling.

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 19 August, 2008.
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