A long, long time ago a fox went to sleep on a sunny slope. While he was asleep four little mice pulled all of his hair out. They sang as they worked, “The fox is dead. Hoo-ray, hoo-ray, hoo-ray!”
When he awoke and found his hair all gone, Mr. Fox was very angry. He saw the mice tracks and followed them to their hole. There he met the first little mouse.
“Who pulled all of my hair out?” angrily asked Mr. Fox.
“My brother did, not I,” said the little mouse, and he ran away to the north.
Mr. Fox dug down into the mice’s home until he found the second little mouse:
“Who pulled my hair out?”
“Not I, my brother did,” replied the second little mouse and he ran away to the south.
Mr. Fox dug deeper until he came to the third little mouse:
“Tell me who pulled all my hair out?” thundered Mr. Fox; for he was growing madder all the time.
“I didn’t pull it out,” answered the third little mouse, “my brother did,” and he ran away to the east.
And so Mr. Fox dug farther down to where the fourth little mouse was.
“Did you pull all my hair out?”
“No sir, not I. It was my brother,” and that little mouse ran away to the west.
Mr. Fox kept on digging until finally he found all of his hair lying at the bottom of the mice’s home. He wanted to kill the mice; but they had all run away. So Mr. Fox took his hair out. He gathered some gum from a piñon tree and spread it over a flat stone. Then he put his hair on the gum and lay down with his back on the stone, to try to rub his hair on again. He thought the gum would glue his hair onto him; but instead, it glued the stone hard and fast to his back. Everywhere he went he had to carry the heavy stone.
He lay down with his back on the stone
He looked so funny without any hair and with a stone on his back that when he met another fox, the other fox rolled over and over with laughter.
“You need not laugh, Brother Fox. Instead, you had better wish that you were in my place. I am carrying this stone to the beautiful daughter of the Indian chief at Zuni for a bread stone. She has promised to reward me for it.”
“Oh please let me help you carry it,” begged the other fox.
“I would not let you if I were not tired,” replied the first fox, “but since I am tired, I think I will let you help me.”
So the second fox took the stone off of the first fox’s back and put it on his own back. And there it stuck hard and fast, while the first fox ran away laughing.
The second fox went along toward Zuni until he found a third fox.
“I am taking this stone to the Zuni chief’s beautiful daughter in exchange for a reward. She wants it for a bread stone,” said he to the third fox; “Would you not like to help me for I am growing weary?”
“Indeed I should,” and the third fox took the stone and put it on his back. And there it stuck hard and fast. This time the second fox ran away laughing.
Then the third fox went on toward Zuni until he met a fourth fox.
“Good-day, Brother,” said the third fox, “I am very tired. Can you tell me how far it is to Zuni; for I am carrying this stone to the Indian chief’s beautiful daughter and she will give me a reward for it?”
“Oh, it is not far. Let me help you,” said the fourth fox; for he wanted the reward, too.
So the fourth fox took the stone and it stuck hard and fast to his back. The third fox trotted away laughing.
The dogs almost caught him
When the fourth fox reached Zuni, the dogs ran out and chased him. The stone was so heavy on his back that the dogs almost caught him. For many days he wore that stone around on his back until finally the gum wore away and the stone fell off.