The Swollen Fox

A Fox took himself through a small hole to eat his fill of what’s inside. Now too big to get back out the Fox has to wait until he returns to normal size.

Don’t be greedy.

[These versions are not exactly the same fable, but are similar enough to be included on the same page.]

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A very hungry fox, seeing some bread and meat left by shepherds in the hollow of an oak, crept into the hole and made a hearty meal. When he finished, he was so full that he was not able to get out, and began to groan and lament his fate. Another Fox passing by heard his cries, and coming up, inquired the cause of his complaining. On learning what had happened, he said to him, “Ah, you will have to remain there, my friend, until you become such as you were when you crept in, and then you will easily get out.”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version (A Fox and A Weazle)

A slam, thin-gutted fox made a hard shift to wriggle his body into a hen-roost, and when he had stuff’d his guts well, he squeez’d hard to get out again; but the hole was too little for him. There was a weazle a pretty way off, that stood fearing at him all this while. Brother Reynard; (says he) your belly was empty when you went in, and you must e’en stay till your belly be empty again before you come out.


Temperance keeps the whole man in order, and in a good disposition, either for thought or action, but the indulging of the appetite brings a clog, both upon the body and mind.

1001Vulpes in Tugurium Ingressa

Vulpes esuriens, cum in tugurio quodam relictas a pastore carnes panemque vidisset, eo ingressa, quam suavissime devoravit. Tumefacto proinde ventre, cum inde exire non posset, suspirabat graviter atque lamentabatur. Alia autem vulpes cum illac forte transiret eiusque fletus audiisset, eo accedens, quam ob rem ita lugeret interrogavit. Cuius rei causam ubi intellexit, “Mane istic ergo tantisper,” inquit, “donec talis fias, qualis es ingressa.”


Fabula significat quod tempus vel difficillima solvit.

Perry #024