You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.

The Cheese in the Well

Published June 1, 2014
Countries: None
Age Levels: Primary Grades, Intermediate Grades

Rabbit was hungry and looking for food to eat.  Fox was also hungry.  Fox saw Rabbit.  Foxes eat Rabbits, and the chase began.  Fox chased Rabbit over the hills and through the woods, around the pond and onto the farm.  Rabbit began to pull ahead in the race.  But, he was getting tired.  He needed a place to rest.  Just then he came to a large well.

Rabbit hid behind the well.    He knew that Fox would find him soon.  Maybe he could hide inside the well.  He climbed up the side of the well where two large wooden buckets sat.  A rope was tied to each bucket and hung over a pulley at the top of the well.  Rabbit looked down in the well and saw something else.  He saw a large yellow ball.  Cheese!  Rabbit saw a round ball of cheese at the bottom of the well.  He climbed into one of the buckets.  Then down he went.  Down - down - down. Until SPLASH!  The Rabbit hit bottom.  Rabbit looked into the water.  He could not see cheese.  There was no cheese. Rabbit had only seen the reflection of the moon

Rabbit wanted to cry.  He was stuck in the well with no way to get out unless someone helped.  Then he looked up at the top of the well.  Fox was hanging his head over the top of the well.  "Now I have you," said Fox.  "I get to eat Rabbit for dinner."

"Come on down, Mr. Fox. "Instead of eating me, eat this delicious cheese," called Rabbit.

"I will come down, and I will eat you both," cried Fox.  Then Fox jumped in the bucket that remained at the top of the well.  Down - down - down went the bucket.  The rope that was attached to the Bucket went over the pulley, down the well and was attached to Rabbit's bucket.  As Fox went down, Rabbit went up - up - up.

Fox hit the bottom of the well and sat floating in his bucket.  There was no cheese to eat, and now there was no rabbit.  Rabbit left Fox in the well.  If someone has not pulled him up, he may still be there today.  And Rabbit?  He must have found something to eat by now.


Adapted by Dr. Mike Lockett from 'Cheese in the Well' by Ralph Steel Boggs in "North Carolina White Folktales and Riddles, 1934.  Included in Illustrated Book of American Folklore by Botkins and Withers, 1958.

Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs.  The illustration at the top of the story was created by Chung Yi-Ru, copyright 2014, owed by Mike Lockett.  More stories and information about storytelling can be found at