Once upon a time there was a fox who lived in the woods. Sly Fox (as he was called) was very, very lazy. The only type of work Sly Fox did was tricking other people into giving him food, water, comfort, and a safe place to stay. He tricked Honest Mouse, Cherry Chipmunk, Loud Raven, and Modest Mole.
One day, Sly Fox was walking in the woods. It was close to winter, and he wanted to find some food and shelter so he could stay warm. He was too lazy to build a house of his own, so he decided to trick Kind Rabbit into giving him shelter. Sly Fox practiced the words that he had prepared in his head to persuade Kind Rabbit to share her food and shelter with him. “Hello, Kind Rabbit. I am a poor fox who has no shelter, food, water, or even a tail. I would like you to share your house with me for the winter. I will repay you by helping you collect food for the next winter. Please help me, Kind Rabbit.” Sly fox grinned as he said it over and over in his head. “Kind Rabbit will fall for it. When spring comes around, I will be long gone. There is no way I am going to do work in the spring. Ha ha ha ha ha.” And so Sly Fox went on, looking for Kind Rabbit.
Meanwhile, Kind Rabbit was walking through the woods. Kind Rabbit was going to see her good friend, Modest Mole. Modest Mole was the best friend anyone could have. He lived in a small, cozy, underground house with a little garden outside. As Kind Rabbit approached Modest Mole’s house, she saw that he was gardening.
“Can I help?” asked Kind Rabbit.
“Sure” said Modest Mole. “I was just planting my tulip bulbs that I bought at the market today. I want to get it done before winter. Thanks for coming over to help.”
Kind Rabbit didn’t really like gardening but thought it rude not to help. As Modest Mole and Kind Mouse were digging, Kind Rabbit started some chitchat.
“Oh, Modest Mole, please tell me of the time when Sly Fox tricked you into giving him your food supply.” Kind Rabbit begged.
“Fine, but you can’t laugh at the story. Here goes.”
“I was sitting in my house one day when I heard a knock at the door. It was Sly Fox. I invited him in, just as any nice neighbor would do. He told me a sob story about how his house had just flooded and all the food he had gathered was ruined. I felt bad for him and offered some food for him to eat. Sly Fox, instead, asked for all my food. He said that his house was farther from the cherry trees and the raspberry bushes than mine by twofold. He said that if I gave him all my food he would come back when he was done and help me gather some more food and even help me garden. I thought about the deal and came to my decision. I would agree IF he would help me gather more food than he took. Sly Fox agreed. He took all my food and went to his house. Even though I waited for Sly Fox to come back, he never did. I will never trust him again.”
After the story, Kind Rabbit said that she had to go. “I really should get going,” said Kind Rabbit. “I need to get back to my house so I can prepare for winter.”
“Sure, thanks for helping,” said Modest Mole. As Kind Rabbit left, she really felt bad for Modest Mole. “I don’t like how Sly Fox tricked Modest Mole. Modest Mole doesn’t deserve it,” Kind Rabbit thought to herself. By now Kind Rabbit was nearly home. Kind Rabbit decided that she would have a cup of tea by the fire when she got home before gathering food for winter.
At that same moment, Sly Fox watched Kind Rabbit trundle through the woods. “What a snit,” Sly Fox thought. “I hope, no, I know that I can trick Kind Rabbit. After all, I’ve had some practice.” Sly Fox watched as Kind Rabbit walked through the door. Then he set his plan into action.
It was a warm and beautiful day. Birds were singing loud and clear. There was a faint rose and evergreen scent hanging in the air, so sweet you wanted to just capture the aroma and smell it forever. Sassafras and dogwood trees proudly displayed their colors of red, orange and yellow. The whole world smelled like fall. Kind Rabbit, though, was oblivious to all the beauty in the world outside. Kind Rabbit was reading Harry Potter by the fire. The fire was burning low. Red-hot coals were visible through the sooty ashes. Kind Rabbit heard a Knock at the door. When she opened it, there was Sly Fox “Come in,” Kind Rabbit said.
“Hello, Kind Rabbit. I am a poor fox who has no shelter, food, water, or even a tail. I would like you to share your house with me for the winter. I will repay you by helping you collect food for the next winter. Please help me, Kind Rabbit.” Kind Rabbit looked suspiciously at Sly Fox.
“I say,” she said, “you should go build your own house.”
“But I do not know how to build a house,” Sly Fox said innocently.
“Well,” said Kind Rabbit (who, at the time, was not being kind at all) “You don’t need a house to be warm. Scram!”
Sly Fox (who, at this point, was starting to lose hope) said, “Could you at least give me a tail? Everyone who doesn't have a house should have a tail. Please?”
“You can have my tail if you give it back in the spring,” said Kind Rabbit. “
“Thank you so much,” said Sly Fox. “I’ll take good care of it.”
The spring arrived and Kind Rabbit came out of her house. The sun was up and shining bright. Kind Rabbit was walking to Sly Fox’s Den. When she got there, she said, “Can I have my tail back?”
“No,” said Sly Fox, “as a matter of fact I kind of like it.” And so, to this day, Kind Rabbit doesn't have a tail and Sly Fox has a big bushy one.