Nin and the Fox’s Tail

The fox chased Nin through the forest, nipping at his heels. Nin’s only escape was to dive headfirst into an old weasel’s hole. He squeezed himself inside, but the hole was narrow, and he got stuck, leaving his tail exposed to the air.

The fox came up and tried to fish Nin out. He snipped at Nin’s tail and pulled up on it, like he was trying to uproot a rather juicy carrot.

Nin dug in, and kicked wildly at the fox, who, after receiving a sharp blow to the nose, reared backwards. There was a loud pop and Nin’s tail was separated from his body!

The fox went chortling away, holding Nin’s tail in his mouth. “Oh what a lovely prize I’ve won!” He laughed.

Nin was incensed. That night he snuck into the fox’s den and, with one sure bite, bit off the fox’s tail in retaliation. Most would call this vengeance enough, but Nin was bitter and his rump was very sore. He trimmed the fox’s tail, procured a resin from a nearby tree, and glued it to the stump where his own tail had once been secured. Except for the bright foxy colour, it was almost a perfect replacement.

The next day Nin was again chased by a fox—but when this fox spotted Nin’s new tail, he stopped dead in his tracks. “Oh, I’m quite sorry,” said the fox, “I mistook you for a rabbit!”

Nin was confused at first, but quickly recovered. “If not a rabbit, what am I?” he asked.

The fox gestured to Nin’s rear. “Why, you’re a fox like me, of course.”

“Don’t you think,” Nin asked tentatively, “that my appearance is strikingly similar to that of a rabbit’s?”

“Why yes,” replied the fox. “If it were not for your lovely tail—”

“Perhaps I really am a rabbit,” said Nin.

“But you have a fox tail; ergo you are a fox. It is plain to see.”

“What of my ears? Or general shape?” asked Nin. He flopped his ears dramatically to demonstrate their rabbitness.

The fox did not seem to understand. “But your tail, you see—”

Nin was taken aback. He went and found another fox, but this one too, upon seeing his new, orange tail, decided that he was, indeed, a fox like them.

From that day on Nin kept his new tail close, and never again feared foxes or their ilk.