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Reynard the Fox

Reynard the Fox

On the court day, all animals showed up except Reynard the fox. He has a lot to answer for and many animals complain about his crimes. The wolf Isegrim testifies that the fox raped his wife, the wolf Hersinde. When Cantecleer (or Chantecler) the rooster arrives with the dead chicken Coppe, the king decides to send Bruun the bear to get the fox Reynard. Reynaert lures the bear in a trap by promising him honey, near a trunk. The bear got clamped in the oak. All villagers see the bear and come trounce him. When Julocke, the wife of the priest, falls in the river, the villagers ignore the bear, and Bruun succeeds to get away. Then Tibeert the cat is sent to get the fox. Reynaert lures him to the barn of the priest, where mice would sit. Tibeert becomes entangled in a noose, but can escape after he has been beaten by the farmer. Then Grimbeert the badger, family of Reynard, is sent out and he manages to get the fox to follow him.

Reynaert then confesses his sins – with more pleasure than repentance – and the court sentences the fox. The bear, the wolf and the badger will straighten out the gallows and the fox now speaks his last words to the court. In this second confession Reynaert makes mention of a coup that would have helped Bruun on the thron. Money to finance this operation was plentiful, thanks to a treasure that Reynaerts’ father found. Reynaert tells everybody he is a loyal subject and that he can prevent the coup by stealing the treasure. He wants the king to designate the location of the treasure. At that time the raven Tiecelijn flies away to notify the three “enemies”. Tibeert believes Reynaert will convince the king, and surrenders. But the wolf and the bear run back to the court, where they are captured as conspirators.

Reynaert goes on a pilgrimage to Rome with a bag made of the skin of the bear and shoes from the skin of the wolves. The hare and buck accompany the fox to Malpertuus. Then The fox kills and eats Cuwaert the hare. His head is put into the bag of bearskin. He tells the buck Belijn to deliver this to the king and tells him he has personally dictated ‘the letter’. When the monkey Botsaert, the harlequin, opens the bag, the deception of the fox is clear. The leopard Firapeel proposes to release Bruun and Isegrim. Reynaert is outlawed. This is the king’s peace, “sconinx vrede”.

 

 

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