How the Wolf lost its tail
In a deep glen in Scotland there lived a scary, wild beastie: a Wolf with shaggy grey hair, sharp fangs and the loudest howl you ever did hear.
Everyone was scared of the Wolf. Folk like Farmer McFleecie and his wife were scared. Even the animals were scared - except for one.
The sly Fox wasn’t exactly friends with the Wolf. They were more like rivals - especially over their long bushy tails.
‘Mine’s much longer than yours!’ boasted the Wolf.
‘Only because you’re bigger than I am!’ the Fox replied.
One icy winter’s night, the Fox and the Wolf went out on the prowl for food.
‘Let’s try the McFleecies’ farm,’ suggested the Wolf.
They crept into the farmyard, where the animals were safely asleep behind barn doors.
‘Look!’ whispered the Fox. ‘Mrs McFleecie has left a dish of crowdie on the kitchen window-ledge.’
Now crowdie is a delicious Scottish cheese. And so the animals scampered over and jumped up to the ledge - but only the Wolf was big enough to reach.
'Hey, save some for me!’ whispered the Fox, as the Wolf gobbled up the cheese before accidentally knocking the dish to the ground, where it rolled to a stop on a frozen puddle.
‘I’ll get that greedy old beastie!’ the Fox thought, as she licked up the few remaining crumbs.
The next night was even colder when the two animals returned to the McFleecies' farm. The Wolf hoped to find some more of the crowdie cheese, but the window-ledge was empty and the bowl lay just where it had fallen.
The Fox suddenly twitched her nose. ‘Mmm, lovely!’ she sniffed in delight. 'There's some crowdie under the bowl. Can't you smell it?'
'Mmm, delicious!’ sniffed the Wolf, not wanting to admit that he couldn’t smell a thing.
‘But there’s laughter coming from the farm house!’ whispered the Fox. ‘Why don't you hide the bowl under your tail while I watch for the lights going out.’
The Wolf lay down and swished his tail over the bowl on the icy puddle. It felt so icy cold!
As the Wolf waited and waited the icy wind got colder and colder. His fur and tail started to turn white with frost. In fact, he was so cold he forgot all about the cheese.
'Where is that Fox?' he wondered as he shivered.
The Fox had been watching all this from behind a wall. When the Wolf began to freeze she padded over to the farm house door and frantically knocked.
‘Farmer McFleecie! There’s a Wolf in the yard!’ she barked. ‘Best see him off before he makes a meal of your sheep!’
Farmer McFleecie and his wife ran out of the farm house, big sticks waving in their hands! The Wolf tried to bolt – but his tail had been resting so long on the bowl that it had frozen to it like glue. The bowl was stuck fast to the ice and now his tail was stuck fast to the bowl.
How the Wolf howled as he tried to free his tail. He pulled and pulled and then - Snap! - he pulled so hard that he pulled it right off!
‘You planned this to get back at me, Fox,’ he yelped as he ran away.
‘Now who’s got the longest tail?’ the Fox barked back.
And so that, laddies and lassies, is why wolves have short stumpy tails. It’s also the reason they’re not too keen on foxes!