WELL, the time came when the field of barley which the Fox and the Wolf had planted together was ready to harvest. So the two friends cut the grain and carried the sheaves to the threshing barn where they spread them out to dry. When it was time to thresh the grain, they asked Osmo, the Bear, to come and help them.
"Certainly," Osmo said.
At the time agreed the three animals met at the threshing barn.
"Now the first thing to decide," Pekka said, "is how to divide the work."
The Fox climbed nimbly up to the rafters.
"I'll stay up here," he called down, "and support the beams and the rafters. In that way there won't be any danger of their falling and injuring either of you. You two work down there without any concern. Trust me! I'll take care of you!"
So Osmo, the Bear, used the flail, and Pekka, the Wolf, winnowed the chaff from the grain. Mikko, the rascal, occasionally dropped down upon them a hunk of wood.
"Take care!" they'd call out. "Do you want to kill us?"
"Indeed, brothers, you have no idea how hard it is for me to hold up all these rafters!" Mikko would say. "You're very lucky it's only a little piece that drops on you now and then! If it weren't for me you'd certainly be killed, both of you!"
Well, the Bear and the Wolf worked steadily. When they were finished Mikko, the rascal, leaped down from the rafters and stretched himself as though he had been working the hardest of them all.
"I'm glad that job of mine is finished!" he said. "I couldn't have held things up much longer!"
"Well now," Pekka asked, "how shall we divide this our harvest?"
"I'll tell you how," Mikko said. "Here are three of us and, see, here on the floor is our harvest already divided into three heaps. The biggest heap will naturally go to the biggest of us. That's Osmo, the Bear. The middle sized heap will go to you, Pekka. I'm the smallest, so the smallest heap comes to me."
The Bear and the Wolf, stupid old things, agreed to this. So Osmo took the great heap of straw, Pekka the pile of chaff, and Mikko, the rascal, got for his share the little mound of clean grain.
Together they all went to the mill to grind their meal.
As the millstone turned on Mikko's grain, it made a rough rasping sound.
"Strange," Osmo said to Pekka, "Mikko's grain sounds different from ours."
"Mix some sand with yours," Mikko said, "then yours will make the same sound."
So the Bear and the Wolf poured some sand in their straw and their chaff and sure enough, when they turned their millstones again, they, too, got a rough rasping sound.
This satisfied them and they went home feeling they had just as good a winter's supply of food as Mikko.