by The Brothers Grimm
translated by Margaret Taylor (1884)
Once on a time the fox was talking to the wolf of the strength of man; how no animal could withstand him, and how all were obliged to employ cunning in order to preserve themselves from him. Then the wolf answered, "If I had but the chance of seeing a man for once, I would set on him notwithstanding." "I can help thee to do that," said the fox. "Come to me early to-morrow morning, and I will show thee one." The wolf presented himself betimes, and the fox took him out on the road by which the huntsmen went daily. First came an old discharged soldier. "Is that a man?" inquired the wolf. "No," answered the fox, "that was one." Afterwards came a little boy who was going to school. "Is that a man?" "No, that is going to be one." At length came a hunter with his double-barrelled gun at his back, and hanger by his side. Said the fox to the wolf, "Look, there comes a man, thou must attack him, but I will take myself off to my hole." The wolf then rushed on the man. When the huntsman saw him he said, "It is a pity that I have not loaded with a bullet," aimed, and fired his small shot in his face. The wolf pulled a very wry face, but did not let himself be frightened, and attacked him again, on which the huntsman gave him the second barrel. The wolf swallowed his pain, and rushed on the huntsman, but he drew out his bright hanger, and gave him a few cuts with it right and left, so that, bleeding everywhere, he ran howling back to the fox. "Well, brother wolf," said the fox, "how hast thou got on with man?" "Ah!" replied the wolf, "I never imagined the strength of man to be what it is! First, he took a stick from his shoulder, and blew into it, and then something flew into my face which tickled me terribly; then he breathed once more into the stick, and it flew into my nose like lightning and hail; when I was quite close, he drew a white rib out of his side, and he beat me so with it that I was all but left lying dead." "See what a braggart thou art!" said the fox. "Thou throwest thy hatchet so far that thou canst not fetch it back again!"