Why the Bear Has a Stumpy Tail - A Norwegian Folk Tale

One winter day, the Bear met the Fox, who was slinking along with a string of fish he had stolen.

“Hi, stop a minute, Mr. Fox!

Where did you get those fish?” demanded the Bear.

Now the Fox, as you know, is a sly one indeed. He didn’t want the Bear to know that he had stolen the fish. So he said,

“Oh, my Lord Bruin, I’ve been out fishing and caught them.”

Well, the Bear was hungry and thought he would enjoy some fish. So he asked the Fox to tell him how to go about catching fish.

“Oh, it is quite easy,” answered the fox, “and soon learned.

You have only to go down to the river and cut a hole in the ice.

Then you put your tail in the hole and keep it there as long as you can.

Don’t mind if it hurts a little. That will be the fish biting.

The longer you keep your tail in the hole, the more fish you will catch.

Then, all at once, pull out your tail. But be sure to give a good hard pull.”

Well, the Bear did as the Fox said. Before long, he was very cold and his tail really hurt. But he kept his tail in the hole until he was sure that he must have caught a great many fish.

Then, remembering what the Fox had said, he gave a really hard pull. But what he didn’t know was that his tail was frozen in the ice.

So, when he pulled, his tail snapped off short. And that is why, to this day, the Bear has a stumpy tail.
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