ONE winter’s day the bear met the fox, who came slinking along with a string of fish he had stolen.
“Hi! stop a minute! Where did you get those from?” demanded the bear.
“Oh, my Lord Bruin, I’ve been out fishing and caught them,” said the fox.
So the bear had a mind to learn to fish, too, and bade the fox tell him how he was to set about it.
“Oh, it is quite easy,” answered the fox, “and soon learned. You’ve only got to go upon the ice, and cut a hole and stick your tail down through it, and hold it there as long as you can. You’re not to mind if it smarts a little; that’s when the fish bite. The longer you hold it there, the more fish you’ll get; and then all at once out with it, with a cross pull side ways and a strong pull, too.”
Well, the bear did as the fox said, and though he felt very cold, and his tail smarted very much, he kept it a long, long time down in the hole, till at last it was frozen in, though of course he did not know that. Then he pulled it out with a strong pull, and it snapped short off, and that’s why Bruin goes about with a stumpy tail to this day!