Mighty Mikko: A Book of Finnish Fairy Tales and Folk Tales | Annotated Tale

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VI. Mikko the Fox: The Fox’s Servant

A DAY or so later the Fox met Pekka, the Wolf. The Fox hadn't seen much of Pekka recently for Pekka had been having a hard time and had been on the verge of starvation. Now he was sleek again and well fed for he had recently killed an Ox.

               "Good day, Pekka," the Fox said in a friendly way.

               "Good day, Mikko. How are you?"

               "Very fine indeed!" the Fox said. "You see I have a new servant. Oh, he's a wonderful servant! He's not big to look at, you know, but he's so strong and quick that he'd jump on you in a minute and eat you up before you knew what was happening!"

               "Really, Mikko?"

               "Yes, really! You just ought to see him!"

               "I'd like to see him," the Wolf said.

               "Well, you might slip down now and take a peep in the kitchen. He's at home. But, my dear Pekka, I warn you not to let him see you! If he catches sight of you, I won't be responsible for the consequences!"

               The Wolf was deeply impressed with all this. He crept carefully down to the Fox's kitchen and sniffed cautiously at the crack under the door. The Cat inside, seeing the tip of the Wolf's nose and thinking it was a Mouse, pounced on it with all his claws. This gave the Wolf a mighty fright and he bolted madly off into the forest.

               He was still panting when he met the Bear.

               "Osmo," he said, "have you heard about that awful creature that Mikko has for a servant?"

               The Bear had heard nothing, so the Wolf related to him his own terrifying experience.

               The Bear's curiosity was aroused.

               "I must have a glimpse of this wonderful servant," he said, ambling off in the direction of the Fox's kitchen.

               "I'll wait for you here," the Wolf called after him, "and I warn you, Osmo, be careful!"

               The Bear when he got to the Fox's kitchen quietly stuck his nose under the crack of the door and squinted inside. He hardly had time for one squint when a terrible creature with a straight tail that looked like a spear came flying through the air, landed on his nose, and drove it full of pins and needles.

               "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" the Bear whimpered as he hurried back to the Wolf.

               "Did you see him?" the Wolf asked.

               "I got just one glimpse of him," the Bear said. "He had a long spear sticking up over his shoulder and he came swooping down through the air just as if he had wings!"

               "My! I wish we could really see him!" the Wolf said. "Suppose we ask Mikko to arrange some way we can have a good look at him."

               So they went to the Fox and Mikko, the rascal, said:

               "Well, now, if you make a feast and invite my servant I think he will come."

               "All right," the Wolf said, "that's what we'll do. I've still got some of that ox. It will make a fine feast."

               So they roasted the remains of the ox and set it out.

               "Now I'll go get my servant," the Fox said. "When you hear us coming, you two hide some place where you can see us but we can't see you. If my servant once sees you I won't be responsible for the consequences!"

               So the Wolf hid in some bushes nearby and the Bear drew himself up into the branches of a tree.

               Well, the Fox and the Cat arrived and sat them down to the feast. Now it happened that the Wolf was not able to see, so he tried to twist himself around into a better position. The Cat caught a glimpse of his tail moving in the bushes and instantly pounced on it. With one terrified yelp, the Wolf jumped out of the bushes and fled into the forest as fast as he could.

               In fright the Cat scampered up the tree and the Bear, of course, supposed that the awful creature now was after him. In his frantic efforts to escape he tumbled down out of the tree and broke two ribs. But for all that he made off, too terrified to look back.

               So the Fox and the Cat were left to finish the ox in peace.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: VI. Mikko the Fox: The Fox’s Servant
Tale Author/Editor: Fillmore, Parker
Book Title: Mighty Mikko: A Book of Finnish Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Book Author/Editor: Fillmore, Parker
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace and Company
Publication City: New York
Year of Publication: 1922
Country of Origin: Finland
Classification: unclassified

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