is a common name for many species of alert omnivorous mammals belonging
to the Canidae family. Foxes are small-to-medium-size canids (slightly
smaller than a medium-size domestic dog), with a flattened skull,
upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long
bushy tail (or brush).
Members of about
37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually
belong to the Vulpes genus of "true foxes". By far the most common and
widespread species of fox is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), although
various species are found on almost every continent. The presence of
fox-like carnivores all over the globe, together with their widespread
reputation for cunning, has contributed to their appearance in popular
culture and folklore in many societies around the world (see also Foxes
in culture). The hunting of foxes with packs of hounds, long an
established pursuit in Europe, especially the British Isles, was
exported by European settlers to various parts of the New World.
Ancient Fox Stories
Fox and the Boastful Suitor (Iroquois)
the Red Fox
Rabbit and Fox (Iroquois)
Story Of The Red Fox Clan (Chickasaw)
The Fox-Woman (Labrador Eskimo)
The Foxes and the Sun (Yurok)
Spider man, Partridges and the Fox (Sioux )
the Fox has a Huge Mouth
Foxes in Culture
Long ago, Snoqualm, the
Moon, had a spider make him a rope out of cedar bark and stretch it
from the sky to the Earth. One day Fox and Blue Jay found the rope and
climbed up to where the rope was fixed to the underside of the sky.
Blue Jay pecked a hole in the sky and they climbed through to the sky
world. Blue Jay flew to a tree while Fox changed himself into Beaver
and swam in a lake. Moon had set a trap in the lake which caught
Beaver. Moon skinned him and threw the body in the corner of the
smokehouse. That night when Moon was asleep Beaver got up and put his
skin back on. He looked around. He took a few of the trees, and the
Moon's daylight making tools, some fire, and the Sun which was hidden
in Moon's house. He changed back into Fox then he found the hole that
Blue Jay had made and took the things to Earth. He planted the trees,
made daylight, gave the fire to the people, and put the Sun in it's
place. When Moon awoke he was very angry. He found the tracks that led
to the hole. He started down but the rope broke and he fell to the
Earth in a heap where he became a mountain. One can see the face of
Snoqualm on one of the rocky cliffs. Today it is called Mount Si and it
is near Northbend, Washington.
A story from the Snoqualmie of Washington, USA
At the foot
of some high mountains there was, once upon a time, a small village,
and a little way off two roads met, one of them going to the east and
the other to the west. The villages were quiet, hard-working folk, who
toiled in the fields all day, and in the evening set out for home when
the bell began to ring in the little church. In the summer mornings
they led out their flocks to pasture, and where happy and contented
from sunrise to sunset.
One summer night, when a round full moon shone down upon the white road, a great wolf came trotting round the corner.
"I positively must get a good meal before I go back to my den," he said
to himself; "it is nearly a week since I have tasted anything but
scraps, though perhaps no one would think it to look at my figure! Of
course there are plenty of rabbits and hares in the mountains; but
indeed one needs to be a greyhound to catch the, and I am not so young
as I was! If I could only dine off that fox I saw a fortnight ago,
curled up into a delicious hairy ball, I should ask nothing better; I
would have eaten her then, but unluckily her husband was lying beside
her, and one knows that foxes, great and small, run like the wind.
Really it seems as if there was not a living creature left for me to
prey upon but a wolf, and, as the proverb says: ‘One wolf does not bite
another.’ However, let us see what this village can produce. I am as
hungry as a schoolmaster."
Now, while these thoughts were running through the mind of the wolf,
the very fox he had been thinking of was galloping along the other road.
"The whole of this day I have listened to those village hens clucking
till I could bear it no longer," murmured she as she bounded along,
hardly seeming to touch the ground. "When you are fond of fowls and
eggs it is the sweetest of all music. As sure as there is a sun in
heaven I will have some of them this night, for I have grown so thin
that my very bones rattle, and my poor babies are crying for food." and
as she spoke she reached a little plot of grass, where the two roads
joined, and flung herself under a tree to take a little rest, and to
settle her plans. At this moment the wolf came up.
At the sight of the fox lying within his grasp his mouth began to
water, but his joy was somewhat checked when he noticed how thin she
was. The fox’s quick ears heard the sound of his paws, though they were
as soft as velvet, and turning her head she said politely:
"Is that you, neighbor? What a strange place to meet in! I hope you are quite well?"
Quite well as regards my health, " answered the wolf, whose eye
glistened greedily, "at least, as well as one can be when one is very
hungry. But what is the matter with you? A fortnight ago you were as
plump as heart could wish!"
"I have been ill – very ill," replied the fox, "and what you say is quite true. A worm is fat in comparison with me."
"He is. Still, you are good enough for me; for ‘to the hungry no bread is hard.’"
"Oh, you are always joking! I’m sure you are not half as hungry as I!"
"That we shall soon see," cried the wolf, opening his huge mouth and crouching for a spring.
"What are you doing?" exclaimed the fox, stepping backwards.
"What am I doing? What I am going to do is to make my supper of you, in less time than a cock takes to crow."
"Well, I suppose you must have your joke," answered the fox lightly,
but never removing her eye from the wolf, who replied with a snarl
which showed all his teeth:
"I don’t want t joke, but to eat!"
"But surely a person of your talents must perceive that you might eat
me to the very last morsel and never know that you swallowed anything
"In this world the cleverest people are always the hungriest," replied the wolf.
"Ah! How true that is; but …"
"I can’t stop to listen to your ‘buts’ and ‘yets,’" broken in the wolf
rudely; "let us get to the point, and the point is that I want to eat
you and not talk to you."
"Have you no pity for a poor mother?" asked the fox, putting her tail to her eyes, but peeping slyly out of them all the same.
"I am dying of hunger," answered the wolf, doggedly; "and you know," he added with a grin, "that charity begins at home."
"Quite so," replied the fox; "it would be unreasonable of me to object
to your satisfying your appetite at my expense. But if the fox resigns
herself to the sacrifice, the mother offers you one last request."
"Then be quick and don’t waste time, for I can’t wait much longer. What is it you want?"
"You must know," said the fox, "that in this village there is a rich
man who makes in the summer enough cheeses to last him for the whole
ear, and keeps them in an old well, now dry, in his courtyard. By the
well hang two buckets on a pole that were used, in former days, to draw
up water. For many nights I have crept down to the place, and have
lowered myself in the bucket, bringing home with me enough cheese to
feed the children. All I beg of you is to come with me, and instead of
hunting chickens and such things, I will make a good meal off cheese
before I die."
"But the cheeses may be all finished by now?"
"If you were only to see the quantities of them!" laughed the fox. "And
even if they were finished, there would always be me to eat."
"Well, I will come. Lead the way, but I warn you that if you try to
escape or play any tricks you are reckoning without your host – that is
to say, without my legs, which are as long as yours!"
All was silent in the village, and not a light was to be seen but that
of the moon, which shone bright and clear in the sky. The wolf and the
fox crept softly along, when suddenly they stopped and looked at each
other; a savory smell of frying bacon reached their noses, and reached
the noses of the sleeping dogs, who began to bark greedily.
"Is it safe to go on, think you?" asked the wolf in a whisper. And the fox shook her head.
"Not while the dogs are barking," said she; "someone might come out to
see if anything was the matter." And she signed to the wolf to curl
himself up in the shadow beside her.
In about half an hour the dogs grew tired of barking, or perhaps the
bacon was eaten up and there was no more smell to excite them. Then the
wolf and the fox jumped up, and hastened to the foot of the wall.
"I am lighter than he is," thought the fox to herself, "and perhaps if
I make haste I can get a start, and jump over the wall on the other
side before he manages to spring over this one." And she quickened her
pace. But if the wolf could not run he could jump, and with one bound
he was beside his companion.
"What were you going to do, comrade?"
"Oh, nothing," replied the fox, much vexed at the failure of her plan.
"I think if I were to take a bite out of your haunch you would jump
better," said the wolf, giving a snap at her as he spoke. The fox drew
"Be careful, or I shall scream," she snarled. And the wolf,
understanding all that might happen if the fox carried out her threat,
gave a signal to his companion to leap on the wall, where he
immediately followed her.
Once on the top they crouched down and looked about them. Not a
creature was to be seen in the courtyard, and in the furthest corner
from the house stood the well, with its two buckets suspended from a
pole, just as the fox had described it. The tow thieves dragged
themselves noiselessly along the wall till they were opposite the well,
and by stretching out her neck as far as it would to the fox was able
to make out that there was only very little water in the bottom, but
just enough to reflect the moon, big, and round and yellow.
"How lucky!" cried she to the wolf. "There is a huge cheese about the
size of a mill wheel. Look! Look! Did you ever see anything so
"Never!" answered the wolf, peering over in his turn, his eyes
glistening greedily, for he imagined that the moon’s reflection in the
water was really a cheese.
"And now, unbeliever, what have you to say?" And the fox laughed gently.
"That you are a woman – I mean a fox – of your word," replied the wolf.
"Well, then, go down in that bucket and eat your fill," said the fox.
"Oh, is that your game?" asked the wolf, with a grin. "No, no! The
person who goes down in the bucket will be you! And if you don’t go
down your head will go without you!"
"Of course I will go down, with the greatest pleasure," answered the fox, who had expected the wolf’s reply.
"And be sure you don’t eat all the cheese, or it will be the worse for
you," continued the wolf. But the fox looked up at him with tears I her
"Farewell, suspicious one!" she said sadly. And climbed into the bucket.
In an instant she had reached the bottom of the well, and found that the water was not deep enough to cover her legs.
"Why it is larger and richer then I thought," cried she, turning towards the wolf, who was leaning over the wall of the well.
"Then be quick and bring it up," commanded the wolf.
"How can I, when it weighs more than I do?" asked the fox.
"If it is so heavy bring it in two bits, of course," said he.
"But I have no knife," answered the fox. "You will have to come down yourself, and we will carry it up between us."
"And how am I to come down?" inquired the wolf.
"Oh, you are really very stupid! Get into the other bucket that is nearly over your head."
the wolf looked up, and saw the bucket hanging there, and with some
difficulty he climbed into it. As he weighed at least four times as
much as the fox the bucket went down with a jerk, and the other bucket,
in which the fox was seated, came to the surface.
As soon as he understood what was happening, the wolf began to speak
like an angry wolf, but was a little comforted when he remembered that
the cheese still remained to him.
"But where is the cheese?" he asked of the fox, who in her turn was
leaning over the parapet watching his proceedings with a smile.
"The cheese?" answered the fox; "shy I am taking it home to my babies, who are too young to get food for themselves."
"Ah, traitor!" cried the wolf, howling with rage. But the fox was not
there to hear this insult, for she had gone off to a neighboring
fowl-house, where she had noticed some fat young chickens the day
"Perhaps I did treat him rather badly," she said to herself. "But it
seems to be getting cloudy, and if there should be heavy rain the other
bucket will fill and sink to the bottom, and his will go up – at least
Ancient Tales in Modern Japan - Fanny Hagin Mayer
Animal Folk Tales Around the World - Kathleen Arnott
Aino Folktales by Basil Hall Chamberlain
Armenian Folktales and Fables by Charles Downing
Black Rainbow: Legends of the Inca &
Myths of Ancient Peru - John Bierhorst
The Book of Beasts - T. H. White
The Catalpa Bow - Carmen Blacker
A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels,
and other Subversive Spirits - Carol Mack and Dinah Mack
Folk Legends of Japan - Richard M. Dorson
Folktales of Germany - Kurt Ranke
Folk Tales from Korea - In-sŠob ZŠong
The Fox and the Badger in Japanese Folklore - Marinus Willem deVisser
The Fox and the Jewel by Karen Smyers
Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, Vol. 1 - Lafcadio Hearn
The Goblin Fox and Badger and Other Witch Animals of Japan - U.A. Casal
Italian Folktales - Italo Calvino
Japanese Folk Tales - Kunio Yanagita
Japanese Mythology - John Ferguson
Japanese Mythology - Juliet Piggott
Japanese Tales - Royall Tyler
Kitsune: Japan's Fox of Mystery Romance and Humor - Kiyoshi Nozaki
Korean Folktales by James Riordan
Myths and Legends of China - Edward T. C. Werner
Northern Tales by Howard Norman
Oriental Myths and Legends by W.W. Gibbings
Russian Fairy Tales by Aleksandr Afanas'ev
Scandinavian Folktales by Jacqueline Simpson
Selected Tang Dynasty Stories Edited by Shen Jiji
Translated by Yang Xianyi
Strange Tales from Make-Do Studio Written by Pu Songling
Translated by Denis C & Victor H Mair
Swedish Folktales & Legends
by Lone T. Blecher & George Blecher
Tales of the Bark Lodges by Bertrand N. O. Walker
Tales from the Igloo - Father Maurice Metayer
Tales from the Japanese Storytellers - Post Wheeler
Uncle Remus the Complete Tales by Julius Lester
Weird Tales of Old Japan - Eisaburo Kusano
Bangu the Flying Fox - Jillian Taylor
Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit - Joe Chandler Harris
Daughter of a Fox Spirit - Ying Shu
The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano
(A Sandman Graphic Novel)
Dummy Afa: the Fox in a Tiger's Suit by
The Fairy Tale Book a Deluxe Golden Book by Marie Ponsot
The Fox Maiden - Elsa Marston
Fox that Wanted Nine-Golden Tails - Mary Knight
Fox in One Bite - Elizabeth Scofield
Fox and Rooster and Other Tales - Maggie Pearson
Fox Tales - Mary Jo Wheeler
Fox Tales: 3 Books - James Marshall
The Fox Woman by A. Merritt
The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson
The Foxes of Chironupp Island - Hiroyuki Takahashi
Foxes of Firstdark - Garry Kilworth
Honhyu, the Fox Fairy
Hunters Moon - Garry Kilworth
The Knowing One - E. Young Smith
Lady into Fox by David Garnett
Little Fox and Hawk - Gail Berry
The Love of a Silver Fox: Folk Tales from Seki City
Meat Pies and Sausages - Dorothy Van Woerkom
Moon Maiden and Other Asian Folktales
One Trick Too Many - Mirra Ginsburg
Reineke the Fox
Shadow of the Fox by Ellen Steiber
Spirit Fox by Mickey Zucker Reichert and Jennifer Wingert
Stories of Old China - Hui-Ch'ing Yen
The Tale of Mr. Tod by Beatrix Potter
Vision of Franocois the Fox - Julia Cunningham
Vulpes the Red Fox - Jean Craighead George
The White Jade Fox by Andre Norton
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Compiled by: Glenn Welker
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