The Hen and The Fox

A fox tried hard to get a roosting Hen out of a tree but the Hen new better than to come down to her doom. Good show.

Beware of interested friendships.

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children (The Cock and the Fox)

Cock and the Fox

Milo Winter (1919)

One bright evening as the sun was sinking on a glorious world a wise old Cock flew into a tree to roost. Before he composed himself to rest, he flapped his wings three times and crowed loudly. But just as he was about to put his head under his wing, his beady eyes caught a flash of red and a glimpse of a long pointed nose, and there just below him stood Master Fox.

“Have you heard the wonderful news?” cried the Fox in a very joyful and excited manner.

“What news?” asked the Cock very calmly. But he had a queer, fluttery feeling inside him, for, you know, he was very much afraid of the Fox.

“Your family and mine and all other animals have agreed to forget their differences and live in peace and friendship from now on forever. Just think of it! I simply cannot wait to embrace you! Do come down, dear friend, and let us celebrate the joyful event.”

“How grand!” said the Cock. “I certainly am delighted at the news.” But he spoke in an absent way, and stretching up on tiptoes, seemed to be looking at something afar off.

“What is it you see?” asked the Fox a little anxiously.

“Why, it looks to me like a couple of Dogs coming this way. They must have heard the good news and—”

But the Fox did not wait to hear more. Off he started on a run.

“Wait,” cried the Cock. “Why do you run? The Dogs are friends of yours now!”

“Yes,” answered the Fox. “But they might not have heard the news. Besides, I have a very important errand that I had almost forgotten about.”

The Cock smiled as he buried his head in his feathers and went to sleep, for he had succeeded in outwitting a very crafty enemy.


The trickster is easily tricked.

Taylor RhymesJefferys Taylor

Taylor - Fox and Hen 0121A HUNGRY fox, in quest of prey,
Into an out-house found his way.
When looking round with skilful search,
He ‘spied a hen upon a perch.

Thought Reynard, “What’s the reason why
They place her on a roost so high?
I know not what the use can be,
Unless it’s out of spite to me.”

As thus he thought, the hen awoke,
When thus to her sly Reynard spoke.

“Dear madam, I’m concern’d to hear,
You’ve been unwell for half a year;
I could not quell my strong desire
After your welfare to inquire;
But pray come down and take the air;
You’ll ne’er get well while sitting there;
I’m sure it will not hurt your cough,
—Do give me leave to help you off.”

“I thank you, sir,” the hen replied,
“I’d rather on my roost abide;
‘Tis true enough I’ve been unwell,
And am so now, the truth to tell;
And am so nervous, you must know,
I dare not trust myself below,
And therefore say to those who call,
I see no company at all;
For from my perch should I descend,
I’m certain in my death ‘twould end;
As then, I know, without presumption,
My cough would end in a consumption.”

Thus cunning people often find
Their crafty overtures declined
By prudent people, whom they thought,
For want of wit, would soon be caught.

[Note: Two JBR Collection fables are included on this one page as they are essentially the same fable with slightly different twists.]

JBR CollectionJBR Collection (The Hen and The Fox)

A Fox having crept into an outhouse, looked up and down for something to eat, and at last spied a Hen sitting upon a perch so high, that he could by no means come at her. He therefore had recourse to an old stratagem. “Dear cousin,” said he to her, “How do you do? I heard that you were ill, and kept at home; I could not rest, therefore, till I had come to see you. Pray let me feel your pulse. Indeed, you do not look well at all.” He was running on in this impudent manner, when the Hen answered him from the roost, “Truly, clear Reynard, you are in the right. I was seldom in more danger than I am now. Pray excuse my coming down; I am sure I should catch my death if I were to.”The Fox, finding himself foiled, made off, and tried his luck elsewhere.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection (The Cock and The Fox)

Hen and Fox

Ernest Griset (1874)

A Cock, perched among the branches of a lofty tree, crowed aloud. The shrillness of his voice echoed through the wood, and the well-known note brought a Fox, who was prowling in quest of prey, to the spot. Reynard, seeing the Cock was at a great height, set his wits to work to find some way of bringing him down. He saluted the bird in his mildest voice, and said, “Have you not heard, cousin, of the proclamation of universal peace and harmony among all kinds of beasts and birds? We are no longer to prey upon and devour one another, but love and friendship are to be the order of the day. Do come down, and we will talk over this great news at our leisure.” The Cock, who knew that the Fox was only at his old tricks, pretended to be watching something in the distance, and the Fox asked him what it was he looked at so earnestly.” “Why,” said the Cock, “I think I see a pack of Hounds yonder.” “Oh, then,” said the Fox, “your humble servant; I must be gone.” “Nay, cousin,” said the Cock; “pray do not go: I am just coming down. You are surely not afraid of Dogs in these peaceable times!” “No, no,” said the Fox; “but ten to one whether they have heard of the proclamation yet.”

Crane Poetry VisualCrane Poetry Visual


Hen and Fox

The Hen roosted high on her perch;
Hungry Fox down below, on the search,
Coaxed her hard to descend
She replied, “Most dear friend!
I feel more secure on my perch.”

Beware of interested friendships.