Brother Rabbit Breaks Up a Brother Fox's Dinner-Party
One day Brother Fox invited some of the other animals to his house. He asked Brother Hear to come, and Brother Wolf, and Brother Raccoon. But he did not ask Brother Rabbit. All the same, Brother Rabbit learnt about this dinner-party and got very angry. He derided to play a trick on Brother Fox and his guests.
The animals were drinking and talking, so at first they did not hear the noise, but all the time Brother Rabbit was coming nearer:
By and by Brother Raccoon, who always listens to every strange noise, asked Brother Fox:
And all the animals stopped and listened. And all the time Brother Rabbit was coming nearer:
The animals were listening, and Brother Rabbit was coming nearer and nearer, and by and by Brother Raccoon took his hat from under the chair, mid said:
"Well, gentlemen, good-bye. It is very late already, and my old woman is waiting for me."
With that Brother Raccoon went out of the back door and ran to the back gate. All the other animals ran out after him, and Brother Fox vas in front. They climbed over the fence and hid in the bushes.
Brother Rabbit was coming down the road —
When he came to Brother Fox's house, there was nobody there. He stopped at the front gate and called out:
"Is there anybody at home?"
And then he answered himself:
"No, honey, there's nobody at home." With that Brother Rabbit began to laugh, and he laughed, and laughed and could not stop. Then he marched up to the house. He opened the door and called out for Brother Fox, but there was nobody there. So Brother Rabbit walked in and took a chair and made himself at home.
Soon Brother Rabbit caught the smell of wine, then he saw the bottle on the sideboard. Now, Brother Rabbit is like some other people. He took one glass of wine, and after that he took another, and then another.
All this time the other animals were in the bushes, ready to run away if they heard a noise. But they did not hear any noise, and by and by Brother Fox said:
"I'll go and have a look." And the other animals decided to go with him. They crawled towards the house. They did not hear any noise, so they crawled up to the house and went in.
When they got into the house, they saw Brother Rabbit at the table. He was asleep, because he was already a little drunk. When Brother Fox saw this he was very glad. Now he had a good chance to punish Brother Rabbit.
"So, Brother Rabbit!" said he. "Mere you are!"
Brother Rabbit woke up and saw Brother Fox and the other animals who looked at him angrily. Then Brother Fox said:
"Let us decide what we shall do with Brother Rabbit."
In those days old man Bear was the judge among the animals. So Judge Bear put on his spectacles and said:
"We must drown him."
Brother Fox clapped his hands and said:
"That is very good! I believe that Judge Bear knows the laws very well."
Brother Rabbit began to cry. "If I cry they will think that I am afraid," he said to himself.
"Do not drown me," he cried, "I cannot swim! Please do not drown me! I'm afraid that I shall go to the bottom at once! If you mast drown me, — please, give me my walking-stick. I. shall hold on to it when I'm drowning, and then I shan't be afraid to drown!"
The other animals agreed to give him his walking-stick. Brother Fox said:
"Let us give him his walking-stick. It won't he funny if he goes to the bottom at once."
And Brother Rabbit thought: "I know what is funny and what is not funny, better than you do, Brother Fox!" But he did not say anything.
Brother Fox gave Brother Rabbit his walking-stick, and Judge Bear look him by the neck and carried him to the river. Then he said, "One, two, three!" and threw him into the middle of the river.
The water in the middle of the river was so shallow that it covered only Brother Rabbit's feet. Brother Rabbit got up at once and with the help of his walking-stick he got out of the river. Very soon he was on the other side. And when he was there, he shouted:
"Good-bye, Brother Fox! Thank you for your nice dinner!" But when Brother Rabbit came home he remembered his old Aunt Mammy-Bammy. And he said to himself:
"Never fall asleep when your enemies are near you, Son Riley. Never drink any wine, Son Riley Rabbit, Riley. Never forget that the law is on side of the strong, and not on the side of the weak!"