Since I personally love the Mongolian animal tales dearly. For their lack of bloodiness and crass black-and-white-painting, for their lovely simple yet poetic language and their promotion of wit and cleverness. So, here is another one.
The story of a lame magpie, a cunning fox and an even more cunning mouse is not only a typical example for the genre but also one of the most beautiful ones. In my humble opinion.
The Lame Magpie Who Had Seven Green Eggs
Once upon a time there lived a lame magpie who had seven green eggs. The family lived in peace and quiet until one day, a fox came along and said: “Give me one of your seven eggs! I want to eat it!”
The magpie said: “I won’t give you one of my eggs.”
“If you won’t give me one of your eggs, I shall trample down all your belongings so they turn into dust, and I shall knock down your golden asp,” the fox threatened.The magpie got frightened and gave the fox an egg. So the fox came every day, repeated his threat and ate the eggs until there was only one green egg left. The magpie cried bitterly, because she did not want to lose her last egg as well but she could not stand up to the horrible fox. Just then, a mouse came along and asked: “Why are your crying so hard?”
“Once I had seven eggs,” the magpie replied, “But then a fox came and said: ‘You have to give me one of your eggs.’ And when I told him, I wouldn’t do it, he said: ‘If you won’t give it to me, I shall throw down the golden asp. I shall trample down your belongings.’ I didn’t know what to do, so I gave him the egg. And now there is but one left.”
The mouse gave the magpie the following piece of advise: “The next time you will say: ‘I won’t give you one of my eggs.’ Then the fox will tell you what he told you before. He will say: ‘I shall throw down the golden asp. I shall trample down your belongings.’ And you will ask him: ‘But where are your antlers to throw down the golden asp with? And where are your hooves to trample down my belongings?’ Then he surely will ask you who taught you these words. You will tell him: ‘I have thought long and hard about it all by myself, until it occurred to me. I have slept on it and then I thought of it. I mused over it and then the idea stole into my mind.’”
The next day the fox came once again and said: “Give me your last remaining egg!”
But the magpie answered: “I won’t give it to you.”
So the fox said: “Well, then I shall have to throw down your golden asp, and I shall have to trample down your belongings so they turn into nothing but dust.”
“But where are your antlers to throw down the golden asp with? And where are your hooves to trample down my belongings with?” asked the magpie.
The fox demanded to know: “Where did your hear these words? Tell me!”
But the magpie did not. Instead she said: “I have thought long and hard about it all by myself, until I occurred to me. I have slept on it and then I thought of it. I mused over it and then the idea stole into my mind.”
“If you won’t tell me who taught you these words, I shall have to use the thirteen ruses of the foxes to capture and eat you!” the fox threatened.
The magpie was at a loss what to do and in her fear she told him: “The mouse who lives in the hole on the other side of this hill has taught me.”
The fox went to the opening of the mouse’s hole and called her out. But the mouse did not appear. Instead she called out: “I’m just now cleaning my home.”
The fox waited patiently. But when called for the mouse again, she said: “Oh, but I’m wiping my mirror.”
The fox was still not disheartened. He kept on waiting in front of her hole and then he called once more. This time, the mouse stuck out her head and the fox said: “What a pretty head you have! How pretty must your chest be.”The mouse showed her chest. “Oh, but how pretty your chest is! How pretty your bum has to be,” the fox told her and the mouse showed her bum.
“What a pretty bum! How pretty a tail you must surely have,” the fox wondered and the mouse crawled far enough out of the hole to show her tail.
“You have such a pretty body. But I do believe, it would look even prettier if you were to jump on that rock over there,” the fox said. And the mouse, being as vain as she was, jumped on the rock. But as soon as she was out in the open, the fox pounced and caught her.
But the mouse wriggled a bit but when it became clear, that she could not escape, she said: “When you chew me, I will smell. But if you take big bites, I will be more tasteful.” The fox followed her advise. But when he opened his mouth, the mouse fell out and ran away.