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.

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

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall (The Cock and the Fox)

Croxall - Cock and FoxA 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 so that difficulty is 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 beast, and what will become of me then? O dear, says Reynard, is it possible that you can be so ignorant, as not to know of the peace that has been lately proclaimed between all kind 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 that, under penalty of suffering the severest punishment that can be afflicted: 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. O then, says the Fox, your humble servant, I must be gone. Nay, pray Cousin, do not go, says the Cock, I am just coming down; sure 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.


It is a very agreeable thing to see craft repelled by cunning; more especially to behold the snares of the wicked, broken and defeated by the discreet management of the innocent. The moral of this fable principally puts us in mind, not to be too credulous towards the insinuations of those, who are already distinguished by their want of faith and honesty. When therefore any such would draw us into a compliance with their destructive measures, by a pretended civility and extraordinary concern for our interest, we should consider such proposals in their true light, as a bait artfully placed to conceal the fatal hook which is intended to draw us into captivity and thraldom. An honest man, with a little plain sense, may do a thousand advantageous things for the public good, and without being master of much address or rhetoric, as easily convince people that his designs are intended for their welfare: but a wicked, designing politician, though he has a tongues eloquent as ever spoke, may sometimes be disappointed in his projects, and be foiled in his schemes; especially when their destructive texture is so coarsely spun, and the threads of mischief are so large in them, as to be felt even by those whose senses are scarce perfect enough to see and understand them.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall (The Hen and the Fox)

Croxall - Hen and FoxA Fox, having crept into an out-house, looked up and down, seeking what he might devour: and at last spied a Hen sitting upon the uppermost perch, so high, that he could by no means come at her. He then had recourse to his old stratagem: Dear cousin, says he, addressing himself to the Hen, how do you do? I heard that you were ill, and kept within; at which I was so concerned, that I could not rest till I came to see you. Pray, how is it with you now? let me feel your pulse a little; indeed you do not look well at ail. He was running on after this impudent fulsome manner, when the Hen answered him from the roost, Truly, cousin Reynard, you are in the right on’t; I never was in more pain in my life: I must beg your pardon for being so free as to tell you, that I see no company; and you must excuse me too for not coming down to you; for, to say the truth, my condition is such, that I fear I should catch my death, if I should do it.


There are some people in the world, whose address and conversation are so impertinent, so shocking, and disagreeable, that it is doing penance, and suffering a kind or bodily pain, to be in their company. When these familiar fools with their repeated ofticiousness ask us how we do, no wonder if we are really sick; for how can we be well when they are near us? they either mean nothing, and are vain, silly inapertinents, whom we abhor or cover some evil purpose under a disguise of nauseous palpable flattery, and therefore are to be treated with reserve and caution. A man who sees through flattery, is indeed free from the danger of it. But he should not be satisfied with that. If he is a public-spirited man, he ought to discountenance and expose the person that practises it, to prevent it from flourishing abroad, and hurting those who may not be weary enough to discern, or staunch enough to resist its attacks. The men of flattery, as they are, in some degree or other, a common mischief, ought to be treated as common enemies: and as it is generally their design to delude and impose upon others, if we can be before-hand with, and disappoint them, we shall act, if not generously, yet, however, fairly and discreetly.

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.