And… once again, like many times before- Once upon a time! And there was a fox that lived in a wood and was such a terror that he made the trees and plants’ leaves stand on end from what he did and got up to! The tiny animals trembled everyday and all day long! All day long they would tremble, the

little animals, from the fear of being eaten.

       No one knew how he did it: he would jump here and there like a crazy cat, building long, long dens that would run for kilometres, starting under the roots of the trees, and would tear through the trunks until they reached the highest branches!

       The birds could barely lay their eggs before the fox had eaten them. One day he took ten and started to brood them, just for fun: but the game didn’t last long! Who knows what fun it would have been if it had lasted: the little birds would have had a fox for a mother, who then would have eaten them!

       Even the wolves feared him, because in fights he would claw their eyes.

       In the wood there lived a beaten dog that had been driven away by the shepherds. He was envious to the bone, and maybe this was one of the reasons why he had been driven away. He would roam here and there in the wood without even catching a mosquito. The sly fox already knew him well, as a long, long time before he had followed the flocks hoping to taste the odd lamb, and here he had seen the dog scrapping it with the other dogs, because he would cause damage to both the shepherds and the sheep. So much damage, in fact, that one-day they got him and …I’ll let you imagine what they did to him.

       The fox’s main den, for however big it was, was always full of food and everyone knew this. God only knows how many times the beaten dog with his slightly droopy and mangy ears had lain in wait, hoping to see the fox to ask him for some food! Sometimes he would only catch a fleeting glance of him, as if he came and went with the wind.

       One day the dog managed to catch a marmot, and a nice big marmot too, but in the end he was so exhausted by the chase that he sat down wheezing on a cyclamen thicket. And whom should he find just there? The fox!

       “Oh…God, oh God…good morning fox.”

       “Good morning…what a lovely marmot!”

       “Uhm…er yes: yes, my dead marmot is nice, yes. But I’m all

sweaty: God it was such an effort to catch it! First it dived in here to go there, and I was there. Then it saw me, and it went this way to go that way, and I was there. Then it went over to go under…anyway, anyway…what I didn’t do to get that blessed marmot…do you like it?”

       “Yes, it’s lovely.”

       “Well, if you like the dead marmot and you think it’s so lovely, then I’ll give it to you!”

       The fox just stood there for a while, as if he’d been hit on the head. He didn’t say anything for a bit, but thought, and then thought again and finally answered in his fox’s voice:  “Sometimes people who are wicked and wretched are cunning, so very cunning that they offer you what little they have in order to surprise you, and they convince you that you are in paradise…but then day after day they arrogate the right to demand everything from you! And, and what if they meet a fox that only takes, but gives nothing in return? But…there! I was almost forgetting: I’m a fox! I’m a fox and I thank you!”

       In order to work all this out, the beaten dog looked at her and swivelled his eyes round, while the fox… grabbed the marmot and flew into the woods just like a helicopter!

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