The Sycophantic Fox and the Gullible Raven


The Sycophantic Fox and the Gullible Raven is a parody told in rhyme, of Aesop's Fable, The Fox and the Crow. It was published in Carryl's Fables for the Frivolous (1898), illustrated by Peter Newell.
The Sycophantic Fox and the Gullible Raven
Peter Newell illustration, "J'Admire, Ton Beau Plumage"
A raven sat upon a tree,
    And not a word he spoke, for
  His beak contained a piece of Brie,
    Or, maybe, it was Roquefort:
      We'll make it any kind you please--
      At all events, it was a cheese.

  Beneath the tree's umbrageous limb
    A hungry fox sat smiling;
  He saw the raven watching him,
    And spoke in words beguiling.
      "J'admire," said he, "ton beau plumage."
      (The which was simply persiflage.)

  Two things there are, no doubt you know,
    To which a fox is used:
  A rooster that is bound to crow,
    A crow that's bound to roost,
      And whichsoever he espies
     He tells the most unblushing lies.

  "Sweet fowl," he said, "I understand
    You're more than merely natty,
  I hear you sing to beat the band
    And Adelina Patti.
      Pray render with your liquid tongue
      A bit from 'Gotterdammerung.'"

  This subtle speech was aimed to please
    The crow, and it succeeded:
  He thought no bird in all the trees
    Could sing as well as he did.
      In flattery completely doused,
      He gave the "Jewel Song" from "Faust."

  But gravitation's law, of course,
    As Isaac Newton showed it,
  Exerted on the cheese its force,
    And elsewhere soon bestowed it.
      In fact, there is no need to tell
      What happened when to earth it fell.

  I blush to add that when the bird
    Took in the situation
  He said one brief, emphatic word,
    Unfit for publication.
      The fox was greatly startled, but
      He only sighed and answered "Tut."

  THE MORAL is: A fox is bound
    To be a shameless sinner.
  And also: When the cheese comes round
    You know it's after dinner.
      But (what is only known to few)
      The fox is after dinner, too.

You may enjoy reading our collection of Aesop's Fables.


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Return to the Guy Wetmore Carryl library , or . . . Read the next poem; The Unusual Goose and the Imbecilic Woodcutter

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