And once upon a time there was a fox who had taught herself such a lot, and who spent most of the day with a book between her paws. All the foxes kept away from her, and none of them wanted her as a friend, but she could not understand why they behaved like this towards her.
And one day, when almost all the foxes had gathered between the chestnut-tree stumps, she mustered her courage and decided to get up on a trunk and make a speech. She started out:
“Please, my friends and foxes, listen to me, for I am a fox as well. I don’t know why you all keep away from me, but I know and swear that I have great respect for you all. I have never wronged any of you, so I very kindly ask you all to lend an ear. And then I would like to…it’s a request I am making to you….”
Some foxes yawned, and others were bored.
“I think…allow me to say, that like all of you, I spend a lot of my time trying to understand the world. Without wishing to offend anyone, I know why there are so many stars in the sky and the equilibrium they give to the world and the entire universe. I know that the sun is the only star which is really close to us, and how it manages to bring its rays to us all and how these rays are light. And I know that the earth happily goes around and around the sun, which is how night comes. And there is the moon, which gives us a bit of light when it’s dark, and sometimes so much light that it’s as if it was another sun! It is smaller than the earth and its mass gives the sea high and low tides, its influence is even reflected in….”
A fox yawned, muttered and was bored.
“And why sea water is always salty and made up of tiny bubbles which fish happily dart around in. And I know how the mountains were formed, and why they have snow on them in winter and how trees climb in the air, that a tiny seed planted in the soil…”
Some foxes yawned, others were bored and others still left.
“Just look at this! Please! I don’t understand! What I’m telling you is useful, and helps us understand our lives better and to make us happy!…Trees blossom and give many animals all sorts of different kinds of fruit, these animals are part of the same natural equilibrium in which we live and contribute to, for better or for worse…”
Yet another fox yawned, another still was bored, and one more left.
“For God’s sake, listen to me! I’m telling you things that you have never heard and to tell you these things I have had to wear out the fur from my paws, turning page after page of book after book! To knooow! These things are useful and help us live better lives!”
“We can save our own lives and make it back alive to our dens, because I have discovered that the dogs that chase after us like crazy are controlled! I swear, someone really does control them! And…”
Some foxes yawned, others left and one fell asleep.
“Dogs are kept by these people who give them a pinch of bread and a bit of accommodation…”
The last fox yawned and then woke up, muttered and was bored…and then there was no one left! The fox was left all alone on her trunk! The only one left was a polecat who had been listening attentively and taking notes, saying “yes, yes” nodding her head up and down.
When the poor fox saw she was alone, she got down from her tree and gloomily asked the polecat:” Why, oh why have they all left without listening to me? I said so many reasonable things! And luckily for them, I discovered why so many dogs suddenly chase after us and the foxes wet themselves from fear.”
The polecat winked with her tiny little eyes, levelled the fox with her crooked snout and said: “You know! Know! know! And know!, but what do you really know? You know for yourself, but not for them! With foxes all you can talk about is eggs and chickens! Try again tomorrow; get up on the log, and tell them that you know where there is a nice hen house chock-full of… Yes! Chickens! Chickens, chickens…chickens!”
Chickens?”, asked the wide-eyed fox.