The Brown Fairy Book
How Some Wild Animals Became Tame Ones
Once upon a time there lived a miller who was so rich that, when he was going to be
married, he asked to the feast not only his own friends but also the wild animals who
dwelt in the hills and woods round about. The chief of the bears, the wolves, the foxes,
the horses, the cows, the goats, the sheep, and the reindeer, all received invitations; and as
they were not accustomed to weddings they were greatly pleased and flattered, and sent
back messages in the politest language that they would certainly be there.
The first to start on the morning of the wedding-day was the bear, who always liked to be
punctual; and, besides, he had a long way to go, and his hair, being so thick and rough,
needed a good brushing before it was fit to be seen at a party. However, he took care to
awaken very early, and set off down the road with a light heart. Before he had walked
very far he met a boy who came whistling along, hitting at the tops of the flowers with a
'Where are you going?' said he, looking at the bear in surprise, for he was an old
acquaintance, and not generally so smart.
'Oh, just to the miller's marriage,' answered the bear carelessly. 'Of course, I would much
rather stay at home, but the miller was so anxious I should be there that I really could not
'Don't go, don't go!' cried the boy. 'If you do you will never come back! You have got the
most beautiful skin in the world-- just the kind that everyone is wanting, and they will be
sure to kill you and strip you of it.'
'I had not thought of that,' said the bear, whose face turned white, only nobody could see
it. 'If you are certain that they would be so wicked--but perhaps you are jealous because
nobody has invited you?'
'Oh, nonsense!' replied the boy angrily, 'do as you see. It is your skin, and not mine; I
don't care what becomes of it!' And he walked quickly on with his head in the air.
The bear waited until he was out of sight, and then followed him slowly, for he felt in his
heart that the boy's advice was good, though he was too proud to say so.
The boy soon grew tired of walking along the road, and turned off into the woods, where
there were bushes he could jump and streams he could wade; but he had not gone far
before he met the wolf.
'Where are you going?' asked he, for it was not the first time he had seen him.