One bright sunny morning, some quails were busily grinding corn and singing when Mr. Fox came along. What a delicious dinner those quails will make, thought Mr. Fox.
“Good morning, Misses Quail,” said he, “what a fine occupation for so pleasant a morning. May I grind with you?”
“Certainly, Mr. Fox,” replied the quails, “if you have any corn to grind.”
“I shall find some,” and Mr. Fox trotted away in search of corn. But he could not find any anywhere. He had to gather a basket of cedar berries instead.
While he was gone the quails decided to play a prank on him, so they put some branches across his path. Mr. Fox did not see the branches, of course, so he tripped, and down he fell and spilled all of his cedar berries. The quails laughed at him and began to eat the berries.
“Stop!” cried Mr. Fox, “you cannot have my berries; but if you will help me pick them up, I will give one to each of you.”
So the quails helped him to pick up the berries and he ground them into meal.
“It is time now to bake our corn cakes,” said the quails, and they baked and ate their cakes.
“I am thirsty,” said one, “let us all fly up to the lake on the mountain top for a drink.”
“I cannot fly,” moaned Mr. Fox, “please do not leave me.”
“I tell you what we will do,” suggested one of the quails, “we will each lend a feather to make wings for Mr. Fox, so that he may fly with us.”
Thereupon each quail lent a feather and soon Mr. Fox was fitted with wings. He did not know just how to manage them. Indeed he was as clumsy as could be; but he flipped and flopped until he finally reached the steep mountain top as soon as any of the quails. For the quails were laughing so hard over Mr. Fox’s ridiculous efforts, that they could scarcely fly themselves.
After they had all had a drink from the lake, the quails took their feathers away from Mr. Fox and pushed him down the mountain side. He fell on the rocks far below and broke his leg. He went about limping the rest of his life and never tried to catch another quail.
Author Note: Laguna Pueblo