The Wolf’s Child
A wolf and a fox fell in love and had a child: a handsome baby boy with his father’s long snout and his mother’s red fur. Because the wolf went hunting each day, the fox stayed behind in the den, taking care of their child. When the wolf returned home in the evening with that day’s supper, he was often too tired to play with his lively son. After devouring his dinner, he sprawled out on the floor of the den and fell asleep.
And so it went, day after day, as the little boy grew and soon began yapping endlessly to his parents. But one evening at supper, the weary wolf suddenly snarled and said, “Yap, yap, yap. That’s all I hear. This child is a wolf, too, isn’t he? When will he start howling?”
The fox sighed and looked her husband in the eye. “If you want your son to howl,” she said, “then you have to start howling.”
The Sheep and the Lambs
Two sheep lived in a wide cow pasture with their two lambs. The sheep were sisters, and the lambs were cousins. Because there were so many cows, and no other sheep, the two sisters and their daughters heard mooing all around them, day after day. It isn’t surprising, then, that these four sheep finally learned to moo, too.
In fact, the sheep became so good at mooing that one of the mothers even began mooing to her lamb. And the more she mooed, the more the lamb mooed back.
But her sister, while she mooed to the cows, would never moo to her own child. Even when the lamb copied her cousin and mooed at her mother, the sheep always bleated back. “Baa!” she said to her daughter. “Baa! Baa!”
As time passed, the first lamb became better at mooing than bleating, and finally stopped bleating altogether.
But the second lamb, though she also mooed often, went on bleating, too. “Baa! Baa!” she said.
And when she grew up, and had lambs of her own, her children learned to bleat as well.
The Donkey-Speaking Horse
There once was a horse who learned to speak like a donkey. She wasn’t a fluent speaker—she spoke with a horse accent and made mistakes—but she loved the donkey language and decided to teach her own little colt to speak it. “Haw-hee!” she would say to him in her horse accent. “Haw-hee!”
The other horses couldn’t speak donkey, but that didn’t stop them from laughing at the donkey-speaking horse. “You’re not a donkey!” they whinnied. “You’ll just confuse your poor child! He won’t be able to speak any language well!”
But the donkey-speaking horse persisted. “Haw-hee! Haw-hee!” she said to her colt, day after day.
Of course, the little horse learned to speak the horse language just as well as the other little horses on the farm. And he learned to speak donkey, too, though it’s true that he sounded a lot like his mother. “Haw-hee!” the colt said.
But as he grew, and made friends with the donkeys on the farm, his way of speaking gradually changed. His speech became more natural, more like his friends. “Hee-haw!” the young horse now said in his fine donkey accent. “Hee-haw! Hee-haw!”