“How Mrs. Fox Married Again”
I guess there are two versions of this
There was a fox with nine tails who
wondered how faithful his wife would be. So he pretended to die. He laid under
a bench and waited. Mrs. Fox locked herself in her room. Soon, a suitor came to the door. The maid – a
cat – went up to Mrs. Fox and asked if she would see the suitor. Mrs. Fox asked
if he had nine tails, but he only had one so he was sent away. This continued
until a fox with nine tails showed up and Mrs. Fox was ready to marry him when
Mr. Fox jumped up and chased everyone out of his house.
When Mr. Fox died (either for real, or
maybe this was a different fox) suitors began showing up to woo Mrs. Fox. They
were a wolf, a dog, a stag, a bear, all sorts of wild animals. But Mrs. Fox
turned them all down because they didn’t have “red breeches and a sharp nose.”
Eventually, a fox showed up and she married him.
In the olden days either suitors showed up
at the widow’s door the day they became widows, or the Mr. Fox – from the first
version – played dead for some time.
I guess marriage
didn’t mean much back then if all it took to find someone was to have nine
tails or to be a fox.