Reynard and the Cock

Retold by Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen

Once on a time there was a cock who stood on the barnyard fence and crowed and flapped his wings. Then the fox came by.

"Good-day," said Reynard. "I have heard you crowing so nicely, but can you stand on one leg and crow, and wink your eyes?"

"Oh, yes," said the cock, "I can do that very well." So he stood on one leg and crowed, but he winked only with one eye, and when he had done that he made himself big and flapped his wings, as though he had done a great thing.

"Very pretty, to be sure," said Reynard. "Almost as pretty as when the parson preaches in church, but can you stand on one leg and wink both your eyes at once? I hardly think you can."

"Can't I though!" said the cock, and stood on one leg, and winked both his eyes and crowed. But Reynard caught hold of him, took him by the throat, and threw him on his back, so that he was off to the wood before he had crowed his crow out, as fast as Reynard could lay legs to the ground.

When they had come under an old spruce fir, Reynard threw the cock on the ground, and set his paw on his breast, and was going to take a bite: "You are a heathen, Reynard!" said the cock. "Good Christians say grace before they eat."

But Reynard would be no heathen, no indeed. So he let go his hold, and was about to fold his paws over his breast, and say graceóbut pop! up flew the cock into a tree.

"You shan't get off for all that," said Reynard to himself. So he went away, and came again with a few chips which the woodcutters had left. The cock peeped and peered to see what they could be.

"What is that you have there?" he asked.

"These are letters I have just got," said Reynard, "won't you help me to read them, for I don't know how to read writing."

"I'd be so happy, but I dare not read them now," said the cock, "for here comes a hunteróI see him, I see him with his pouch and gun."

When Reynard heard the cock chattering about a hunter, he took to his heels as fast as he could.