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The Fox and the Stork



The Fox, though in general more inclined to roguery than wit, had once a strong inclination to play the wag with his neighbour the Stork. He accordingly invited her to dinner in due form. But when she came to the table, the Stork found it consisted entirely of different soups, served in broad, shallow dishes, so that she could only dip the end of her bill in them, but could not possibly satisfy her hunger. The Fox lapped them up very readily, and every now and then addressing himself to his guest, desired to know how she liked her entertainment, hoped that everything was to her liking, and protested he was very sorry to see her eat so sparingly.

The Stork, perceiving she was jested with, took no notice, but pretended to like every dish extremely; and, at parting, pressed the Fox so earnestly to return her visit that he could not, in civility, refuse.

The day arrived, and he repaired to his appointment. But, to his great dismay, he found the dinner was composed of minced meat, served up in long, narrow-necked bottles; so that he was only tantalized with the sight of what it was impossible for him to taste. The Stork thrust in her long bill, and helped herself very plentifully; then, turning to Reynard, who was eagerly licking the outside of a jar where some sauce had been spilled, "I am very glad," said she, smiling, "that you appear to have so good an appetite. I hope you will make as hearty a dinner at my table as I did the other day at yours." The Fox hung down his head, and looked very much displeased. "Nay, nay!" said the Stork; "don't pretend to be out of humour about the matter; they that cannot take a jest should never make one."

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