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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/371

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TRUE TALES OF BIRDS AND BEASTS.

And there was a red fox who lived on the Silver Bow, too, and he went hunting because he wanted rabbit for dinner. But while he could run very fast he could not bound over the tops of the sagebrush, for his own brush, which he always carried with him because he was so proud of it, would catch on the thorns of the other kinds of brush and so would keep him back.

So he sent for his cousin, the coyote, to come and help him. Now, the coyote lived out in the country by Emigrant Mountain. He was not proud at all, for he hadn't much of a brush, and nobody flattered him for his beauty. But for all that the coyote could run very fast, as he had Indian blood in him. The only trouble was that his hind feet ran faster than his fore feet. So he had to stop every little while and run sidewise to unkink himself and give his fore feet a chance to catch up.

When the coyote came up the rabbit was bounding along through the bushes, going around in a great circle so that he always came back to the same place, for that is the way of the rabbit-folk. So the fox lay low and hid his brush in the sage, and the coyote followed the rabbit around the circle. And he just kept up with the rabbit all the way, for the rabbit wasn't scared, and didn't run very fast. And when they had gone once around the circle the rabbit passed the hidden fox. Then the fox got up and chased him, and was only a few feet behind. And the coyote stopped and ran sidewise for a while to unkink himself, and then he lay down in the bushes and waited for the rabbit to come back. The rabbit was much scared when he saw the fox close behind him, so he ran and bounded very fast, and the fox kept falling behind because he had his long brush to carry. But he kept at it just the same, and when the rabbit came around the circle to where he started there was the coyote waiting for him. The rabbit had to make a great jump to get over the coyote's head. Then they went around again and the coyote kept close behind all the way, and the rabbit began to get tired. When the coyote's hind legs got tangled up then the fox was rested, and he took up the chase; and so they kept on, each one taking his turn, except the rabbit, who had to keep his own turn all the time.

When the race was over there was nobody there to see how they divided up what they caught. But I saw the coyote the next day, and he looked so very empty that I think that the red fox must have taken all the rabbit meat for himself. Most likely he left his cousin just the ears for his part, with a rabbit's foot to carry in his pocket for good luck.