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Wolves.

I.

—A CERTAIN village butcher, who had bought some meat at market and was returning home in the evening, suddenly came across a wolf, which followed him closely, its mouth watering at the sight of what he was carrying. The butcher drew his knife and drove the animal off; and then reflecting that his meat was the attraction, he determined to hang it up in a tree and fetch it the next morning. This he accordingly did, and the wolf followed him no further; but when he went at daylight to recover his property, he saw something hanging up in the tree resembling a human corpse. It turned out to be the wolf, which, in its efforts to get at the meat, had been caught on the meathook like a fish; and as the skin of a wolf was just then worth ten ounces of silver, the butcher found himself possessed of quite a little capital. Here we have a laughable instance of the result of “climbing trees to catch fish.”

II.

—A butcher, while travelling along at night, was sore pressed by a wolf, and took refuge in an old mat shed which had been put up for the watchman of the crops. There he lay, while the wolf sniffed at him from outside, and at length thrust in one of its paws from underneath. This the butcher seized hold of at once, and held it firmly, so that the wolf couldn’t stir; and then, having no other weapon at hand, he took a small knife he had with him and slit the skin underneath the wolf’s paw. He now proceeded to blow into it, as butchers blow into pork; and after vigorously blowing for some time, he found that the wolf had ceased to struggle; upon which he went outside and saw the animal lying on the ground, swelled up to the size of a cow, and unable to bend its legs or close its open mouth. Thereupon he threw it across his shoulders and carried it off home. However, such a feat as this could only be accomplished by a butcher.

狼三則

有屠人貨肉歸,日已暮。歘一狼來,瞰擔中肉,似甚涎垂;步亦步,尾行數里。屠懼,示之以刃,則稍卻;既走,又從之。屠無計,默念狼所欲者肉,不如姑懸諸樹而蚤取之。遂鉤肉,翹足挂樹間,示以空空。狼乃止。屠即逕歸。昧爽往取肉,遙望樹上懸巨物,似人縊死狀,大駭。逡巡近之,則死狼也。仰首審視,見口中含肉,肉鉤刺狼腭,如魚吞餌。時狼革價昂,直十餘金,屠小裕焉。緣木求魚,狼則罹之,亦可笑已!
  一屠晚歸,擔中肉盡,止有剩骨。途中兩狼,綴行甚遠。屠懼,投以骨。一狼得骨止,一狼仍從;復投之,後狼止而前狼又至;骨已盡,而兩狼之並驅如故。屠大窘,恐前後受其敵。顧野有麥場,場主積薪其中,苫蔽成丘。屠乃奔倚其下,弛擔持刀。狼不敢前,眈眈相向。少時,一狼逕去;其一犬坐於前,久之,目似瞑,意暇甚。屠暴起,以刀劈狼首,又數刀斃之。方欲行,轉視積薪後,一狼洞其中,意將隧入以攻其後也。身已半入,止露尻尾。屠自後斷其股,亦斃之。乃悟前狼假寐,蓋以誘敵。狼亦黠矣!而頃刻兩斃,禽獸之變詐幾何哉,止增笑耳!
  一屠暮行,為狼所逼。道傍有夜耕者所遺行室,奔入伏焉。狼自苫中探爪入。屠急捉之,令不可去。顧無計可以死之。惟有小刀不盈寸,遂割破爪下皮,以吹豕之法吹之。極力吹移時,覺狼不甚動,方縛以帶。出視,則狼脹如牛,股直不能屈,口張不得合。遂負之以歸。非屠烏能作此謀也?三事皆出於屠;則屠人之殘,殺狼亦可用也。

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