Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Jean de La Fontaine - 1668

Translated into English
  by Frederick Colin Tilney - 1913

Original title (French):
Le Renard et les Poulets d'Inde

Country of origin: France


English - aligned

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The Fox and the Young Turkeys

Jean de La Fontaine / Frederick Colin Tilney

Some young turkeys were lucky enough to find a tree which
served them as a citadel against the assaults of a certain fox. He, one
night, having made the round of the rampart and seen each turkey
watching like a sentinel, exclaimed, "What! These people laugh at me, do
they? And do they think that they alone are exempt from the common rule?
No! by all the gods! no!"

He accomplished his design.

The moon shining brilliantly seemed to favour the turkey folk against
the fox. But he was no novice in the laying of sieges, and had recourse
to his bag of rascally tricks. He pretended to climb the tree; stood
upon his hind legs; counterfeited death; then came to life again.
Harlequin himself could not have acted so many parts. He reared his tail
and made it gleam in the moonshine, and practised a hundred other
pleasantries, during which no turkey could have dared to go to sleep.
The enemy tired them out at last by keeping their eyes fixed upon him.
The poor birds became dazed. One lost its balance and fell. Reynard put
it by. Then another fell and was caught and laid on one side. Nearly
half of them at length succumbed and were taken off to the fox's larder.

To concentrate too much attention upon a danger may cause us to tumble
into it.