Outwardly he was an ordinary gray Chinese fox, but he knew that if he lived to be a hundred without being chased by a dog, he could become a beautiful woman; or at five hundred, a mighty wizard; or at a thousand, a celestial fox with nine golden tails. But although he did not initially fancy being either a beautiful woman or a wizard, and intended to wait for the ultimate reward, his hundredth birthday changed his mind; pursued in the forest of Napatantutu by the Prince's two leopards, he implored the legendary dragon, now live, to transform him--""There is nothing I want so much as to be a woman, even an ugly one will do."" But beautiful he became, and the Prince's bride. . . . A distinction of Oriental fantasy is that it has no illusions: the fox grows discontented with luxury and returns to the forest and his former state; neither does being a wizard bring him happiness. But the final disillusion is his nine golden tails: now the richest fox in the world, he is also helpless to move, and mocked by the animals who were to have been his slaves. The Midas touch is fatal, but there is still a surprise or two and a sly tail end. Also intriguing illustrations throughout. All in a small, squarish format as irresistible as the story, heralding a new author with a polished style.