The Fox and the Lizard (Native American Folk Tale)

Down near the Indian village of Laguna, there is a big sandstone rock over-hanging the roadside. Once upon a time a little lizard lived on the sunny side of this big rock. She was a happy little lizard and sang songs all day long.

One day a fox was going along the road and he heard the lizard singing:

Now everything nice or pretty that anybody else has, the fox immediately wants, so he wanted the lizard”s song. “I must get the lizard to teach me that song,” so up on the rock he jumped to find the little lizard.

“Good morning, my friend,” said the fox, “this is a beautiful day, and your song sounded so fine that I wish you would teach it to me.”

“With pleasure,” replied the obliging lizard and she sang the song over and over until the fox said he knew it.

“Thank you my friend,” said he, “and now good-day, for I must be off to hunt my dinner,” and away he trotted down the road singing as he went, “Mo-ki, mo-ki, mo-ki – .”

He came to a small pond where a flock of wild ducks were feeding on the grass seeds. He did not see the ducks, but they saw him and they flew up suddenly out of the water flapping their wings and quacking. The noise frightened the fox so much that he forgot his song. Try as hard as he might, he could remember only the first part.

He went running back to the lizard”s house on the big rock. “My friend, I have forgotten the song you taught me; won”t you please sing it again for me?”

The little lizard sang it again and once more the fox trotted down the road singing:

“Mo-ki mo-ki mo-o-ki,

Mo-ki mo-ki mo-o-ki,

Hanging rock is here. Hanging rock is here. A happy home for me.

Unhum unhum.”

But he had not gone very far before a rabbit suddenly jumped across his path from behind a bush. The rabbit startled him so that again he forgot the song he was singing.

So a third time the fox went to find the lizard. This time he found her asleep in the warm sunshine. “I am sorry to disturb you, Miss Lizard, but I have forgotten my song again and I want you to teach it to me once more.”

But the sleepy little lizard did not answer.

“I will ask you four times to sing,” growled the fox, “and if you do not sing, I will eat you up.”

The little lizard kept her eyes closed and paid no attention to him. The fox asked her four times to sing, and then he opened his big mouth and swallowed her down.

The warm sun on the rock made the fox sleepy too, so he lay down and went to sleep. While he was sleeping, the little lizard took a knife out of a pocket in her skin, with which she removes her old skin for a new skin dress each year, and she cut and cut the fox”s side until she cut a hole big enough to slip out through. Then she took a sharp rock and put it inside the fox where she had been. After that she took a piece of sinew thread from her pocket and sewed the fox”s side together again. Then she ran quietly home.

All this time the fox was fast asleep. When he awoke he felt thirsty, so he trotted back to the little pond for a drink. The stone in his side cut and felt very uncomfortable; and when he leaned down to drink, it overbalanced him and he fell, splash, down into the deep water and drowned.

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