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By Ramaswami Raju

A FARMER was returning from a fair which he had attended the previous
day at a neighboring market town. He had a quantity of poultry which
he had purchased. A Fox observed this, and approaching the Farmer,
said, "Good morning, my friend."

"What cheer, old fellow?" said the Farmer.

"I am just coming from the wood, through which you mean to go with your
poultry. A band of highwaymen has been tarrying there since daybreak."

"Then what shall I do?" said the Farmer.

"Why," said the Fox, "if I were you I should stay here a while, and
after breakfast enter the wood, for by that time the robbers will have
left the place."

"So be it," said the Farmer, and had a hearty breakfast, with Reynard
for his guest.

They kept drinking for a long time. Reynard appeared to have lost his
wits; he stood up and played the drunkard to perfection. The Farmer,
who highly admired the pranks of his guest, roared with laughter, and
gradually fell into a deep slumber. It was some time after noon when
he awoke. To his dismay he found that the Fox was gone, and that the
poultry had all disappeared!

"Alas!" said the Farmer, as he trudged on his way home with a heavy
heart, "I thought the old rogue was quite drowned in liquor, but I now
see it was all a pretense. One must indeed be very sober to play the
drunkard to perfection."

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