Sour Grapes

A fox reached up to pick a grape. However, he couldn’t quite reach them. He walked away, his tail swishing. “They were probably sour anyway,” he said.

His friend the sparrow swooped down. “Don’t worry, friend,” she said. “I’ll get you some grapes.”

“I really do think they’re sour,” the fox said. “Leave them there and maybe we can pick them later when they ripen.”

“Nonsense,” Sparrow said. “It really is no trouble. Don’t be so negative.”

The sparrow flew up and picked a bunch of grapes. Then she fluttered in front of her friend until he took the grapes from her beak. She flew around in a happy circle and landed in front of him.

“Go on,” she said. “Try one.”

Fox sighed and picked one of the grapes. He tossed it into his mouth and chewed. He made a face. “Sour,” he said.

Sparrow drooped. “Really?” she said. “You’re not teasing me?”

“Try one,” Fox said and held out the bunch of grapes.

Sparrow leaned over and bit a grape off the bunch. “Bleh,” she said. She spit out the grape. “That’s inedible. Why do they look yummy if they taste like that?”

“I don’t know,” Fox said. “Maybe they’re the wrong type or it’s too early to pick them.”

“We should find someone who can tell us,” Sparrow said. “That way we won’t eat any more sour grapes.”

“I think that’s a good plan, friend,” Fox said. “You lead the way and I’ll carry the grapes.”

The sparrow hopped on her feet at the praise and sang a happy little tune.   “I just thought of the perfect person to ask,” she said. “Let’s go talk to Mole. I think he knows all about growing things.”

She led the way to Mole’s house. She was excited and flew a little too fast, so it took a while for Fox to arrive. While she was waiting, she knocked on the door. Mole answered the door just as Fox stepped onto the front step.

Mole looked nervously at the fox. “Oh, don’t worry about him,” Sparrow said. “He’s a friend.”

Mole didn’t look any less nervous. “What do you want?” he asked.

“Can you tell us how to tell if grapes will be sweet before you eat them?” the sparrow asked.

“No, I only grow carrots, radishes, onions, and potatoes. That way I can pick them without leaving my house. I don’t like to leave my house. It’s not safe,” Mole said. Then he slammed his door shut. They could hear him lock it.

“Well, that didn’t work,” Fox said.   “Who likes to eat grapes?”

“I thought everyone did,” Sparrow said. “We should ask a bird. Birds are very smart.”

“Well, people do talk about birdbrains,” Fox said.

“Exactly,” Sparrow said.

“Except I think they mean that birds aren’t always deep thinkers,” Fox said.

“That’s ridiculous. It was probably a lie spread by the cats,” Sparrow said. “Let’s go ask Grandfather Owl. He’s quite wise.”

So, Fox followed Sparrow to Grandfather Owl’s tree. “Grandfather Owl,” Sparrow said. “We have a question to ask you.”

“Is it evening already?” Grandfather Owl asked. “Then why is it so bright out?” Grandfather Owl peeked around the edge of the door blinking his eyes.   He saw the grapes and bit one off the bunch. He made a face.   “Sour. Don’t you know any better than to pick sour grapes?”

“But how can you tell if they’re sour?” Sparrow asked.

“By the taste,” Grandfather Owl said. “If they’re not sweet, they’re sour. Good day.” He closed the door.

“He is so wise,” Sparrow said. “Now we know.”

“That doesn’t answer our question of how we can tell if they’re sweet without tasting them,” Fox said.

“Maybe we were asking the wrong question,” Sparrow said.

Fox sighed. “It was nice spending time with you today Sparrow. I need to go. You can keep the grapes.” He set the bunch of grapes next to sparrow and disappeared into the bushes.

Sparrow smiled. “That was so nice of him.” She bit a grape off the bunch and then spit it out. “Bleh! Sour.   I’d forgotten. I wonder if all the grapes are sour? I guess I’ll follow Grandfather Owl’s advice and taste them all to find out.”

That night, Sparrow went to bed with a stomachache.