My retelling/review of this tale comes from my Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper.
This is the last tale in my Scottish Folk and Fairy Tale book. I’m sad to see it finish as I’ve loved reading these tales.
Tale End centres around Kirsty MacLeod who is an ordinary girl. Every single thing about her is ordinary. Kirsty had long red hair that would be brushed out and braided by her mother and father.
One day when Kirsty was walking, she saw a fox in the middle of a bridge. The fox thought she looked good enough to eat and approached her. The fox asked where she was going. Kirsty was a smart girl and didn’t think the fox needed to know. The fox offered her to go and visit him in his den but she firmly told him no. He tried to entice her by saying that should could play with his darling baby cubs. The fox was getting cross so came out with a cunning plan.
He told Kirsty that he was sad that he might not see his cubs again. He said he was afraid of running water and couldn’t go over a river by himself. He asked if he could hold on to the end of her plait in order to get across. Kirsty thought about this and told him that he could do so, but must shut his eyes so that he didn’t see the running water. She would give him the end of her plait to hold.
The fox agreed and thought that when he had hold of her plait, he would not let go and drag her into his den. When Kirsty was sure the fox’s eyes were shut, she gave him the end of his won tail. The fox cheated and peeped a tiny bit, he saw the red fur and assumed it was Kirsty’s red hair. Kirsty told him to hold tight and he did. He pulled and pulled until his own tail broke off. He howled in pain, wondering what on earth had happened to him. Clever Kirsty told him that he’d reached the end of his tail! 🙂