Once a fox got a big bone. He was hungry and didn’t have the patience to break it up. So, he tried to swallow it in one gulp and then it happened. The bone got stuck in his throat. The fox coughed and spewed furiously. And then with his hands he tried to pull the bone out. But nothing worked.
The fox ran around, howling in frustration. But he couldn’t find a way out. He went to a river and drank gallons of water. He thought the water would wash down the bone. But that didn’t happen. The bone remained stuck in the throat. Dejected, he sat down and wept.
A crane was sitting near by. The fox saw the long legs, slender neck and the long pointed beak, and he got an idea. He walked up to the crane and in a hoarse voice asked, ‘Brother crane, will you do me a favour?’
The crane turned its long neck and stared at the fox and asked in a disinterested voice.
‘Yes, what can I do for you?’
The fox explained his predicament. ‘You have such long beaks. It will only be a child’s play for you. Please help me,’ the fox begged.
The crane closed his eyes and thought for a second.
‘OK, what will I get in return?’ he asked.
‘I will reward you suitably, said the fox.
‘Okay, then I will take it off,’ said the crane. He got up. The fox sat on his hind legs and opened his mouth. The crane put his long beak into the fox’s mouth and plucked the bone out. The fox heaved a sigh of relief. He then opened and shut his mouth several times and tried to bring back some flexibility to the tired muscles in his throat.
Meanwhile, the crane patiently waited for his reward.
After a short while, the fox was ready to go. He started walking away.
‘What about my reward?’ shouted the crane from behind.
The fox turned around and snarled his ugly teeth. ‘When you put your head into my mouth, I didn’t chop it off. Isn’t that a good reward?’
Not everyone knows what it means to be grateful.