The Ambitious Fox and the Unapproachable Grapes

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The Ambitious Fox and the Unapproachable Grapes is a parody told in rhyme, based on Aesop's Fable, The Fox and the Grapes. Carryl published this poem in Fables for the Frivolous (1898), illustrated by Peter Newell.
A farmer built around his crop
    A wall, and crowned his labors
  By placing glass upon the top
    To lacerate his neighbors,
       Provided they at any time
       Should feel disposed the wall to climb.

Aesop, The Fox and the Grapes
  He also drove some iron pegs
    Securely in the coping,
  To tear the bare, defenceless legs
    Of brats who, upward groping,
       Might steal, despite the risk of fall,
       The grapes that grew upon the wall.

  One day a fox, on thieving bent,
    A crafty and an old one,
  Most shrewdly tracked the pungent scent
    That eloquently told one
       That grapes were ripe and grapes were good
       And likewise in the neighborhood.

  He threw some stones of divers shapes
    The luscious fruit to jar off:
  It made him ill to see the grapes
    So near and yet so far off.
       His throws were strong, his aim was fine,
       But "Never touched me!" said the vine.

  The farmer shouted, "Drat the boys!"
    And, mounting on a ladder,
  He sought the cause of all the noise;
    No farmer could be madder,
      Which was not hard to understand
      Because the glass had cut his hand.

  His passion he could not restrain,
    But shouted out, "You're thievish!"
  The fox replied, with fine disdain,
    "Come, country, don't be peevish."
       (Now "country" is an epithet
       One can't forgive, nor yet forget.)

  The farmer rudely answered back
    With compliments unvarnished,
  And downward hurled the bric-à-brac
    With which the wall was garnished,
       In view of which demeanor strange,
       The fox retreated out of range.

  "I will not try the grapes to-day,"
    He said. "My appetite is
  Fastidious, and, anyway,
    I fear appendicitis."
       (The fox was one of the élite
      Who call it site instead of seet.)

  The moral is that if your host
    Throws glass around his entry
  You know it isn't done by most
    Who claim to be the gentry,
       While if he hits you in the head
       You may be sure he's underbred.

You may also enjoy our collection of Favorite Fairy Tales.


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Return to the Guy Wetmore Carryl Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; The Arrogant Frog and the Superior Bull

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