The Tale of Sir
Nicholas the Talking Fox
by Ann, age 8, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Once upon a time there was a little boy named John. He was a bright
and happy child. He continued to be bright all through out his life
although his happiness ended when he was about Three years old.
One stormy night his parents died. They died on the same night at the
same time. John later learned it was of old age. The only thing he could
remember of their death was people everywhere, sirens wailing and strangers
carrying him away. He cried and cried as his parents, the only people
he had ever known, were loaded into an ambulance and taken to who knows
The people who took John in kept him for about a week. They were nice
to him but took him to the orphanage as soon as they found out he had
no living relatives. John stayed in the orphanage for eight unhappy
years. He wanted to go to school but the owner of the orphanage said,
"When you are eleven, not right now though." When that happy
day came though, the owner would not let him!
By staying up later than usual, looking through keyholes, and listening
through doors, he soon managed to figure out that he was being adopted
during the next few weeks! With further investigation he learned that
the couple who were adopting him were mean and only wanted him to work.
John did not know what to do.
The day before he was to be adopted John decided to run away. That night
he packed up. He found a good long pole and his blanket. In the blanket
he put his only possessions and some food --- a loaf of bread he had
stolen from the kitchen, a bottle of water from the bathroom, his journal
and an old faded photograph of his parents. Then he tied the blanket
to the stick, flung the stick over his shoulder and tiptoed out the
door into the night.
He headed toward the woods. They wouldn't find him there. Finally hours
later, he sat down in a little clearing in the very heart of the woods.
He decided to build his house there. And so he did. The next day he
went into town and bought an axe with the little money he had. He built
a sturdy little one-room cabin and lived on edible roots, berries, and
animals he shot with the bow and arrow he made.
One day while out hunting he saw a fox. He fit the arrow into his bow
ready to shoot it but the fox said, "please do not shoot me! I
will show you something!?" It came out a question. "Show me"
John said, lowering his bow. The fox led him out of the woods onto a
little dirt road. There was a sign on a tree. It said:
who can get all 2 things requested for my daughter may have her hand
King Charles Edmund
"Wonderful, wonderful!" John cried. "I will set out
at once! And you dear fox will come with me." "All right"
the fox said. "And, by the way, my name is Sir Nicholas. NOT 'dear
fox'. You can call me Nick." So John and Nick went back to John's
cabin to pack for the big trip. "I will miss this cabin and the
woods," said John. It had been a long time since the day he had
run away. He was now about seventeen!
John gathered some berries and put them in a bag. He also got some berries
he had dried the week before and put them in two more bags. Nick, the
fox, loaded some meat into a big sack. When they were done they collected
1 big blanket, 2 sturdy poles, and 4 stakes to drive into the ground.
They would use that equipment for making a tent.
They picked up all the heavy bundles and walked into town. When they
got there John was exhausted and sweating. But still, he stood under
the baking hot sun and sold everything they had gathered that day except
for the tent materials that they had left at the cabin. Finally, he
had enough money to buy a horse. She was a cheerful little mare, pretty
and strong. John rode her back, while Nick ran along behind.
Then they rested while Daisy (that was the horse's name) munched on
some oats they had also purchased. They gathered more berries, dug up
some more roots, and shot some more animals until they had at least
as much provisions as they had sold. John then took out his journal
(which almost had no paper left) and his parents' picture, put them
in his knapsack and locked all the doors and windows to the cabin.
That night they slept camped out on a riverbank not far from the palace.
John took out his fishing rod and sat down. Suddenly, there was a big
jerk on his line. John reeled in as quickly as he could. He had caught
a HUGE one! All the colors of the rainbow glistened on his back. The
father of all rainbow trout! (Their colors is how they got their name.)
" Please put me back" the big fish begged. "All right"
John said for he liked this fish and besides that he only fished for
fun. "May God bless you.?" said the fish as John lowered him
back into the water. "If you ever need me repeat this 3 times.
'Rainbow trout, rainbow trout, rainbow trout, have no heed, be quick,
be fast, your help I need!" "It's not exactly proper English
but it will have to do." And with that the fish sped away.
John and Nick stayed on the riverbank another day, then went to a forest
on the castle grounds. While looking for fresh berries (the dried ones
weren't very tasty), John happened to come upon a mother bird about
to feed a spider to her young. "Help me! Help me!" the spider
squealed. John put an arrow in his bow, let loose, and the bird fell
to the ground. "Thank you" the spider said. "Your goodness
will not be forgotten." Then he disappeared into the bushes to
John and Nick traveled on until they got to the castle gates. "I
am here to win the princess" John said. The guards laughed. "Many
have come in, none have come out. There was something His Majesty didn't
put sign. If you fail you will be executed at dawn." They cackled
With a pounding heart John walked to the doors. Now he feared for his
life and the fact that he may not win the princess. He was about to
enter when one of the guards shouted, "No animals allowed. Shoo
away fox!" "Wait in the forest," John whispered. Sir
Nicholas ran away in the direction of the woods.
As John entered the great hall, he felt a tingle of fear. What if he
failed? Could he do it? Then he came to the throne room. "WHAT
DO YOU WANT?!" the king bellowed. "I came to try my luck,"
John said. The king's face calmed a little. "Aren't you afraid?"
he asked. "I am but I don't give up." John's eyes traveled
around the room. There were gold ceilings, silver walls, and marble
floors. The king had everything he wanted. There was a huge gold throne
in the center with huge jewels all over it. Next to it were two silver
thrones. The queen sat on the right side and the princess at the left.
The princess was very beautiful and as John heard it very kind.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" the king asked. "Yes
I am." "The first command. Bring Alice (my daughter) a dress
made of unsticky spiders silk dyed all the colors of the rainbow by
tomorrow." John sucked in his breath "this is going to be
a lot harder than I thought." The king chuckled "You're right.
That night John decided to sleep in the forest. When he was looking
for a place to put his blanket, Sir Nicholas, who had been waiting for
him, asked him what the first task was. John told him and Sir Nick said,
"what about that spider? You could call him and get some unsticky
spider silk and call the fish, Lord of the Rainbow Trout. He might give
you some of the color off his back." "Wonderful idea Nick!"
said John. "I'll call the spider right now! SPIDER!? SPIDER!? I
need your help." "At your service" said the spider as
it appeared. "Will you weave me a dress of unsticky spiders silk
that would fit the beautiful princess Alice?" "Sure thing"
said the spider. And in less than two minutes he did. "Thank you
with all my heart!" cried John. "You're welcome" said
the spider. And with that he disappeared.
"Now I will call the fish. How do you say that chant again?"
asked John. "I think it started with rainbow trout, rainbow trout"
said Nick. "Oh thank you. Now I remember" said John. "Rainbow
trout, rainbow trout, have no heed, be quick, be fast, your help I need!"
Suddenly there was a CRAAACK! and a BANG! and there was the fish in
a puddle at their feet. "What do you want?" the trout asked
grumpily. "I was taking a bath
. Oh! It's you. I liked you
from the moment I first saw you. You are a kind boy. Would you like
me to grant you a wish?" "Yes please," John cried. "So
cough it up! What is your wish?" "Well would you dye this
dress with all the colors of the rainbow?" "After Princess
Alice are you?" the fish said grinning. "Sure thing."
And suddenly there was another CRAAACK! and a flash of light and the
dress was dazzling with all the colors of the rainbow. "Thank you,
Thank you so very much," cried John. "You're welcome,"
replied the fish smugly. Then without a sound he and his pond disappeared.
The next morning, John picked up the dress like a priceless treasure
and marched right through the door of the castle. The guards weren't
there. They were probably on their way to his execution. When he came
into the grand hall the king's mouth dropped wide open. The princess
ran into her room to change into her new dress right away. "Well,
well," said the king recovering quickly. "It is time for the
last and most difficult request. Bring me the right ear of a fox who
can talk." John was so startled that he almost yelled "NO!"
"You are dismissed said the king.
When John reached the clearing where he was supposed to meet Nick. He
began sobbing. "What is the matter?" said Nick (a fox who
could talk). "The last request is to cut off the right ear of a
fox who can talk. The only fox who can talk that I know is you,"
answered John, who continued to sob. "Then do it dear friend. I
want the best for you." "You WANT me too?" asked John.
"Yes." "I'll try," John replied.
He picked up his knife, closed his eyes and brought it down. He grabbed
the right ear and there was a flash of light and BANG!!! Suddenly, in
Nick's place stood a young prince. "Wh-who are you?" stammered
John. "I am Princess Alice's brother put under a spell by a wicked
witch. Now let us go and you can get married."
When they got to the castle they were greeted by cheering crowds. The
princess hugged and kissed her brother and so did the king and queen.
John presented the fox ear. John and Princess Alice then got married.
Everyone lived happily ever after.