The Brown Fairy Book
The Wicked Wolverine
One day a wolverine was out walking on the hill-side, when, on turning a corner, he
suddenly saw a large rock.
'Was that you I heard walking about just now?' he asked, for wolverines are cautious
animals, and always like to know the reasons of things.
'No, certainly not,' answered the rock; 'I don't know how to walk.'
'But I SAW you walking,' continued the wolverine.
'I am afraid that you were not taught to speak the truth,' retorted the rock.
'You need not speak like that, for I have SEEN you walking,' replied the wolverine,
'though I am quite sure that you could never catch ME!' and he ran a little distance and
then stopped to see if the rock was pursuing him; but, to his vexation, the rock was still in
the same place. Then the wolverine went up close, and struck the rock a blow with his
paw, saying: 'Well, will you catch me NOW?'
'I can't walk, but I can ROLL,' answered the rock.
And the wolverine laughed and said: 'Oh, that will do just as well'; and began to run
down the side of the mountain.
At first he went quite slowly, 'just to give the rock a chance,' he thought to himself; but
soon he quickened his pace, for he found that the rock was almost at his heels. But the
faster the wolverine ran, the faster the rock rolled, and by-and-by the little creature began
to get very tired, and was sorry he had not left the rock to itself. Thinking that if he could
manage to put on a spurt he would reach the forest of great trees at the bottom of the
mountain, where the rock could not come, he gathered up all his strength, and instead of
running he leaped over sticks and stones, but, whatever he did, the rock was always close
behind him. At length he grew so weary that he could not even see where he was going,
and catching his foot in a branch he tripped and fell. The rock stopped at once, but there
came a shriek from the wolverine:
'Get off, get off! can't you see that you are on my legs?'
'Why did you not leave me alone?' asked the rock. 'I did not want to move--I hate
moving. But you WOULD have it, and I certainly sha'n't move now till I am forced to.'
'I will call my brothers,' answered the wolverine. 'There are many of them in the forest,
and you will soon see that they are stronger than you.' And he called, and called, and