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1001 Stories Collection

Reynard the Fox

1001 Reynard The Fox Alex Glebov
Added on 02nd July 2020

Oral tradition European folktale

Europe Animals
1001 , Audio , Text

Reynard the fox is a cunning trickster who outsmarts all the other animals in these European folktales.


Reynard is a cunning trickster whose adventures show that he is more than prepared to outsmart the other animals in the kingdom.

Why we chose it

Like many foxes, Reynard is a trickster character. One of his stories, Reynard in the Well, was chosen by author Geraldine McCaughrean to be included in our animal stories project with St Ebbes school in 2016.

Where it came from

The earliest tradition dates back to Flanders and Germany in the 10th and 11th centuries, but the main source comes from the French Roman de Renart, which was written by Pierre de Saint-Cloud around 1170. There are around 30 “branches”, or chapters, of this story, and they were written in rhyming verse.

Where it went next

The story was adapted into a Middle Dutch version in the Mid-13th Century by Willem die Madoc maecte. His work became the foundation for most later adaptations in German and English, including The Historie of Reynart the Foxe by William Caxton (1481). There are various books, TV programmes and films, though Walt Disney abandoned his movie about Reynard because he thought the character was too wicked to be a hero!

Associated stories

Geoffrey Chaucer was inspired by Reynard in The Canterbury Tales (1387–1400), and in “The Nun's Priest's Tale”, Reynard appears as “Rossel”. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt is called after the cat (Tibert) in Reynard the Fox.

Added on 02nd July 2020

Oral tradition European folktale

Europe Animals
1001 , Audio , Text

Story Resources

  • Reynard in the Well story text PDF (37.297 KB)