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Reynard, The Fox (Folk Tale)

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Reynard, The Fox
Reynard-the-fox

Real Name

Reynard

First Appearance

Le Roman de Renart (ca 1170)

Original Publisher

Harper & Brothers

Created by

Unknown (earliest writings by Pierre de Saint-Cloud)

Synopsis

Reynard is an anthropomorphic fox usually depicted as a very clever trickster who battles the greedy and brutish wolf, Isengrim. In some stories he is depicted as a hero of the people, in other stories, he is depicted as a nasty and self-serving rogue. He is often depicted as having a den or castle, called Maupertuis, where he can hide from his enemies. He is also frequently depicted as having a wife named Hermeline and three children.

In one story, he is summoned to the court of King Noble, or Leo, the Lion, to answer charges or murder and adultery brought against him by Isengrim. Other anthropomorphic animals, including Chanticleer the Rooster, Bruin the Bear, Baldwin the Ass, Tibert (Tybalt) the Cat, all testify against Reynard as well.

Isengrim is sometimes depicted as Reynard's uncle and former partner in crime. He challenges Reynard to duels and Reynard usually wins through cunning. However, Isengrim eventually wins a chess game against Reynard while the fox is drunk. The wager that Isengrim is then entitled to any part of Reynard's body, results in a fatal wound.

Some tales then depict Reynard's funeral, in which his enemies gather to deliver maudlin elegies full of insincere piety. In these stories, Reynard gets his revenge posthumously, against his enemies and sometimes against Hermeline who has remarried. In other stories, Reynard has simply gone into hiding with his family, giving rise to the famous line, "Yet Reynard still lives on."

Public Domain Comic Appearances

  • Four Color #103: Easter with Mother Goose: Reynard attempts to abduct Humpty Dumpty in the forest, but then enlists the Easter Bunny's help in rescuing the egg from the castle of the giant, Cormoran.
  • Zoo Funnies (1953 series) #1

Notes

  • A human characters named after Reynard, the Fox appeared in Cyclone Comics #4-5 as a knight in the Third Crusade (1183 AD).

See Also

Wikipedia

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