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The Cock and the Fox



A Cock, being perched among the branches of a lofty tree, crowed aloud, so that the shrillness of his voice echoed through the wood and invited a Fox to the place, who was prowling in that neighbourhood in quest of his prey. But Reynard, finding the Cock was inaccessible by reason of the height of his situation, had recourse to stratagem in order to decoy him down. So, approaching the tree, "Cousin," says he, "I am heartily glad to see you; but at the same time I cannot forbear expressing my uneasiness at the inconvenience of the place, which will not let me pay my respects to you in a handsomer manner; though I suppose you will come down presently, and thus the difficulty will be easily removed."

"Indeed, cousin," says the Cock, "to tell you the truth, I do not think it safe to venture upon the ground; for though I am convinced how much you are my friend, yet I may have the misfortune to fall into the clutches of some other beasts, and what will become of me then?" "Oh, dear!" says Reynard, "is it possible that you can be so ignorant,[101] as not to know of the peace which has been lately proclaimed between all kinds of birds and beasts; and that we are for the future to forbear hostilities on all sides, and to live in the utmost love and harmony, and this, under the penalty of suffering the severest punishment that can be inflicted?" All this while the Cock seemed to give little attention to what was said, but stretched out his neck, as if he saw something at a distance.

"Cousin," says the Fox, "what is it that you look at so earnestly?" "Why," says the Cock, "I think I see a pack of hounds yonder, a little way off." "Oh, then," says the Fox, "your humble servant, I must begone." "Nay, pray cousin, do not go," says the Cock, "I am just coming down; surely you are not afraid of Dogs in these peaceable times?" "No, no," says he, "but ten to one whether they have heard of the proclamation yet."


When rogues are met in their own strain, they are generally worsted. It is interesting to see the snares of the wicked defeated by the discreet management of the innocent. "Answer a fool according to his folly," is an old maxim.

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