Fables 37 - 40
The fables in this collection are The too fat Fox (read by Jane Horrocks); The Rat and the Elephant (read by Richard E Grant); The Ant and the Dove (read by Lindsay Duncan) and The Boy who cried 'Wolf!' (read by Richard Briers).
A Fox becomes thinner and thinner during the winter and he fears he will starve. One day he comes across a large amount of food inside a hollow tree, it having been hidden there a short while previously by a man who believes the hole in the trunk to be too small for any animal to get through. The Fox can get through the hole having become so thin. He eats all the food, but finds himself too fat to get out. He has to wait for a few days until he is thin again before he can get out.
The Rat and the Elephant
The Rat is used to people reacting with fear when they see him and is rather pleased with himself. One day he comes across a crowd of people and is upset when they seem to ignore him. They are too busy admiring the Elephant, on which a king is riding, carrying a cat. The Rat says the people shouldn’t be so impressed with the Elephant, since it is only an animal with four legs, two eyes and a nose - just like him. The king’s cat jumps down from the Elephant and demonstrates how the Rat is not as impressive as the Elephant, since the cat could not pin down or threaten to eat the Elephant. The people notice the Rat has been caught by the cat are no longer frightened of him.
The Ant and the Dove
Hot weather has dried up all the water in the forest and the Ant is dying of thirst. The only source of water is the river and the Ant decides to drink from it, despite knowing how dangerous it is. Sure enough, the river sweeps him away and he cries desperately for help. The Dove helps the Ant to safety but disappears before the Ant can thank her. However, the Ant is able to return the favour when two hunters come with the aim of catching the Dove. He bites the feet of the hunters, preventing them from catching the doves and causing them to run away.
The Boy who cried ‘Wolf!’
A boy has the job of protecting a flock of sheep from wolves. If a wolf comes he is to ring a bell and cry out 'Wolf!' to rouse the villagers. After a few days with no wolf the boy is getting bored, so he pretends that a wolf is attacking. The villagers come running and praise him, believing his story that the wolf has since run off. The boy enjoys the attention, so he repeats the trick; but this time he is not praised and not believed. When a wolf really does attack the villagers do not come, thinking that the boy is fooling them again.