With all haste the bear entered the tree with his fore feet forward, and thrust his head into the hole quite over the ears. When the fox saw this, he instantly ran and pulled the wedges out of the tree, so that the bear remained locked fast. Neither flattery nor anger now availed the bear, for his nephew’ had got him in so fast a prison, that it was impossible to free himself by any maneuver.
What profited him his great strength and valor now? They only served to irritate and annoy him; and deprived of all relief, he began to howl and bray, to scratch and tumble, and make such a noise, that Lanfert came running hastily out of the house to see what was the matter. He held a sharp hook in his hand, and while the bear lay tearing and roaring in the tree, the fox cried out in scorn, “He is coming, uncle! I fear you will not like the honey; is it good? Do not eat too much; pleasant things are apt to surfeit, and you will delay your journey back to court. If your belly be too full, Lanfert will give you drink to digest it.”
Having said which, he set off towards his castle again. Lanfert, finding that the bear was taken fast, ran to his neighbors and desired them to come. The tidings spreading through the town, there was neither man, woman, nor child but ran to see; some with one weapon and some with another, goads, rakes, and broom staves, and whatever they could lay hands on.
The priest bore the handle of a large cross, the clerk had holy water, and the priest`s wife, Dame Jullock, brought her distaff, as she happened to be spinning: nay, the old beldams came that had never a tooth in their heads. Hearing the approach of this army, Bruin fell into great fear, there being none but himself to withstand them; and as they came thundering down upon him, he struggled so fiercely that he contrived to get his head out of jeopardy by leaving behind the best part of the skin, along with his ears, insomuch that never age beheld a more foul ugly beast; for the blood covered his face and hands, leaving his claws and skin behind him, so that he could hardly move or see.
It was an ill market he came to, for in spite of this torment Lanfert and his crew came upon him, and so belabored him with staves, and hooks, and rakes, that it might well be a warning to every one taken in misery, showing how the weakest must evermore go to the wall. This Bruin cruelly experienced, every one venting their fury upon his hide, even Houghlin with his crooked leg, and Ludolf with the long broad nose; the one armed with a leaden mall, and the other with an iron scourge.
None lashed so hard as Sir Bertolf with the long fingers, and none annoyed him more than Lanfert and Ortam, one being armed with a sharp Welsh hook, and the second with a crooked staff heavily leaded at the end, with which he used to play at stabball. There was Burkin and Armes Ablequack, Bane the priest with his crosshandle, and Jullock his wife.
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