Once upon a time there was a man, who had to drive his cart to the forest for wood.
One day a lynx met him.
"Give me your horse," said the lynx, "or I'll kill all your sheep."
"Oh! God help me," said the man; "there's no firewood in the house; you must let me drive home a load of wood, or else we will freeze to death. I'll bring the horse to you tomorrow morning."
So the man got the wood on the cart and hurried homewards, but he wasn't over pleased at the bargain you may understand. On the way home a fox met him.
"What's the matter?" said the fox; "why are you so depressed?"
"Oh, if you want to know," said the man; "I met a lynx in the forest, and I had to give my word to him to bring my horse back tomorrow, at this very hour for if he didn't get him, he said he would kill all my sheep."
"That’s bad," said the fox; "if you'll give me your fattest sheep, I'll help you out of this trouble."
The man gave his word, and swore he would keep it.
"Well, when you come with your horse tomorrow," said the fox, "I'll make a lot of noise, and when the lynx asks what that noise is, you must say it is Ola the hunter, who is the best hunter in the world, after that you must help yourself."
Next day, when he met the bear, something began to make a lot of noise up in the hillside.
"Hear! What’s that?" said the lynx.
"Oh! That’s Ola the hunter," said the man; "he's the best hunter in the world. I know him by his voice."
"Have you seen any lynxes around here, Knut?" shouted a voice from the hillside.
"Say no!" said the lynx.
"No, I haven't seen any," said Knut.
"What's that then that stands next to you?" shouted the voice from the hillside.
"Say it's a tree-stump," said the lynx.
"Oh, it's only a tree-stump," said the man.
"Such tree-stumps we take in my country and roll them on our carts,”shouted the voice. "If you can't do it yourself, I'll come and help you."
"Say you can help yourself, and roll me up on the cart," said the lynx.
"No, thank you, I can help myself," said the man, and rolled the lynx on to the cart.
"Such tree-stumps we always bind fast on our carts in my country, shouted the voice; "shall I come and help you?"
"Say you can help yourself, and bind me fast." said the lynx. No, thanks, I can help myself, said the man, who started to bind the lynx fast with all the ropes he had, so that the lynx couldn't move a paw.
"Such tree-stumps we always drive our axes into in my part of the world," shouted the voice.
"Pretend to drive your axe into me," said the lynx.
Then the man took up his axe, and at one blow split the lynx's skull, so that the lynx lay dead, and so the man and the fox were great friends. But when they came near the farm, the fox said:
“I'll just wait here, and you can bring the sheep to me, but pick out a nice and fat one."
Yes, the man would be sure to do that, and thanked the fox for his help. When he had put up the horse, he went across to the sheep-stall.
"Where are you going?" asked his wife.
"Oh!" said the man, "I'm only going to the sheep-stall to get a fat sheep for the fox that set our horse free. I gave him my word I would."
"Sheep you are," said his wife; "not a single one shall that thief of a fox get. “Take two of your swiftest dogs in a sack, and let them loose after him; and then, maybe, we shall be rid of this fox."
Well, the man thought that was a good advice; so he took two dogs, put them into a sack, and went off with them.
"Have you brought the sheep?" said the fox.
"Yes, come and take it," said the man, as he untied the sack and let loose the hounds.
"HUF!" said the fox, and started to run.
As he ran he thought: “I should have listened to my mother; she was right when she said: “Don’t trust anyone, especially not a human.”
The fox wasn’t caught by the dogs and he got away.
He never trusted anyone again, especially a human being.
He settled by a little pound in the forest, and there he met a female fox.
He got many children and lived happily ever after.