La Fontaine: Foxes (Larned)

These stories are part of the La Fontaine unit. Story source: Fables in Rhyme for Little Folks by W. T. Larned and illustrated by John Rae (1918).

Rosy and ripe, and ready to box,
The grapes hang high o'er the hungry Fox. — 

      He pricks up his ears, and his eye he cocks.

Ripe and rosy, yet so high! — 
He gazes at them with a greedy eye,
And knows he must eat and drink — or die.

When the jump proves to be beyond his power — 
"Pooh!" says the Fox. "Let the pigs devour
Fruit of that sort. Those grapes are sour!"




The Fox and the Stork


Old Father Fox, who was known to be mean,
Invited Dame Stork in to dinner.
There was nothing but soup that could scarcely be seen: — 
Soup never was served any thinner.

And the worst of it was, as I'm bound to relate,
Father Fox dished it up on a flat china plate.

Dame Stork, as you know, has a very long beak:
Not a crumb or drop could she gather
Had she pecked at the plate every day in the week.
But as for the Fox — sly old Father:
With his tongue lapping soup at a scandalous rate,
He licked up the last bit and polished the plate.

Pretty soon Mistress Stork spread a feast of her own;
Father Fox was invited to share it.
He came, and he saw, and he gave a great groan:
The stork had known how to prepare it.

She had meant to get even, and now was her turn:
Father Fox was invited to eat from an urn.

The urn's mouth was small, and it had a long neck;
The food in it smelled most delightful.
Dame Stork, with her beak in, proceeded to peck;
But the Fox found that fasting is frightful.

Home he sneaked. On his way there he felt his ears burn
When he thought of the Stork and her tall, tricky urn.






The Cat and the Fox


The Cat and the Fox once took a walk together,
Sharpening their wits with talk about the weather
And as their walking sharpened appetite, too;
They also took some things they had no right to.

Cream, that is so delicious when it thickens,
Pleased the Cat best. The Fox liked little chickens.

With stomachs filled, they presently grew prouder,
And each began to try to talk the louder — 
Bragging about his skill, and strength, and cunning.
"Pooh!" said the Fox. "You ought to see me running.
Besides, I have a hundred tricks. You Cat, you!
What can you do when Mr. Dog comes at you?"

"To tell the truth," the Cat said, "though it grieve me
I've but one trick. Yet that's enough — believe me!"

There came a pack of fox-hounds — yelping, baying.
"Pardon me", said the Cat. "I can't be staying.
This is my trick." And up a tree he scurried,
Leaving the Fox below a trifle worried.

In vain he tried his hundred tricks and ruses
(The sort of thing that Mr. Dog confuses) — 
Doubling, and seeking one hole, then another — 
Smoked out of each until he thought he'd smother.

At last as he once more came out of cover,
Two nimble dogs pounced on him — all was over!



(500 words)

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