Chapter Five

The Old Fox walked over the hill and saw the fires and tents of a large caravan. As he neared its outskirts two men armed with spears and shields met him. "Who are you?" they asked, "What do you do here?"
2 And The Old Fox told them who he was, and of the destruction of his caravan, and that he had been wandering in the desert for several days.
3 One guard stayed with him, while the other ran into the camp to fetch the leader of the caravan. A sudden weariness came over The Old Fox, and he stumbled to a boulder and sat down.
4 The guard offered him wine, which The Old Fox gratefully accepted. Moments later, the leader of the caravan arrived, accompanied by many men bearing torches. "Yes!" he cried, "Yes! It IS The Old Fox. I have seen him on several occasions! Quickly! Bring him into the camp."
5 Laying The Old Fox on the two guard's shields, he was swiftly carried into the camp. There was a Healer with the caravan, who swiftly tended his wounds.
6 "I do not know how he lived," he told the caravan leader. "He must be a strong-willed old man. Some men half his age could not have endured what he went through! He cannot walk, and the bumping of an ox cart would be too much for him. A litter must be built, and he must be carried."
7 "We have the materials," said the leader of the caravan, "such a task will take most of the day, but it must be done. Tell the rest of the camp we do not move tomorrow. They get a day's rest. I know this Old Fox. He is known for his kindness to travelers and those in need. It is time his kindness shall be repaid."
8 So the next day the caravan rested, the litter was prepared. The following evening The Old Fox told those assembled in the great tent all that had happened to him.
9 Some listened in awe, others shook their heads in disbelief. "Surely he has had visions," said some.
10 "It was his thirst, hunger and injuries," said others. "Who could believe such wild things as he tells? I know I was never an animal...were you?"
11 "I sometimes wonder," the other man answered.
12 The following day they journeyed on, and after some days came by Tr, to The House Of Fox. When the bearers entered the yard with their burden, total confusion reigned. The remains of The Old Fox's caravan had been found, and everyone had thought him dead.
13 Sure Hands, the first to see him, ran through the house, screaming that his father was home. Everyone rushed out to meet him.
14 His wives fell on his neck, making great cries of joy.
15 The servants gathered around joyfully, calling "It is the master! He is alive!"
16 It was quite a while before the bearers were fed, paid for their efforts, and sent on their way, and The Old Fox was put on his own bed. His wives would take turns tending him, while the rest of the family took care of business.
17 Now, The Old Fox told all in the house of his adventures and they listened with amazement, but they, too, had their doubts about the soundness of his mind.
18 Gray Fox, The Old Fox's eldest son, had acted quickly when news of the destruction of his father's caravan came. He swiftly gathered more funds, and with only bearers, hurried south. He would buy new tents in Muk to bring back their goods.
19 They did not have to worry about the bandits. A few days after The Old Fox's caravan had been attacked, two groups of the king's fighting men had caught the bandits by surprise as they returned to their hiding place bafter a raid. They had been virtually wiped out. There would be no more big raids on caravans for a long time to come.
20 The Old Fox was pleased with the actions of his children. The family business had not suffered in his absence. By the time Gray Fox returned, The Old Fox was on his feet, and helping handle their daily affairs. The story of his adventures had spread, and many came to hear of them. The Old Fox continued to tell all that would hear.
21 Now, this embarrassed some of his family, for some were saying he had gone mad, but he took care of business as he always had, and treated them all well. If he wanted to tell these strange stories, let him. Many people seemed interested, Even his brothers listened with some interest to the tales when they journeyed from their far homes.
22 Many months went by, but the Spirit of The Old Fox's younger brother did not return. The Old Fox thought perhaps he had forgotten, but then one day, he appeared.

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