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27 The Fox Confessor 15. Once a fox wandered about the forest one long autumn night without eating a thing. At daybreak she ran into a village, entered the yard of a peasant, and climbed up onto a roost to the hens. She’d just crept up there and was about to seize a single hen, when the cock decided it was time to sing. Suddenly he flapped his wings, stamped his feet, and shouted out at the top of his lungs. The fox from fright flew off the roost, such that she lay in a fever for about three weeks. Then once the cock decided to go into the forest and stroll about, and the vixen had long since been keeping an eye on him. She hid behind a bush and waited to see whether the cock wouldn’t soon be coming along. The cock spied a dead tree, flew up into it, and perched there. By now it seemed the fox was bored and did not wish to wait any longer; she wanted to entice the cock down from the tree. She thought and thought, and then she thought something up: I’ll flatter him. She came up to the tree and greeted him: “Greetings, Songster!” “Why did the devil bring her here?” thought the cock. But the fox approached with her tricks:“Oh Songster, I wish you well, to place you on the path of truth and teach you wisdom. You, cock, have fifty wives and have never been to confession. Come down to me and confess, and I shall remove all your sins from you.” The cock came down a bit lower and lower and fell right into the fox’s paws. The fox grabbed him and said,“Now I’ll give you a little heat! You’ll answer to me for everything. Recall, you fornicator and lecher, your bad deeds! Remember how one dark autumn night I came and wanted to make use of your chicken house, as I hadn’t eaten for three days before that, and you flapped your wings and stamped your feet!”“Oh my, fox,” said the cock. Sweet are your words, most wise princess! Our archpriest will soon be having a feast, and at that time I’ll ask that they make you a communion loaf baker. And you and I will have soft communion loaves and sweet ales, and great glory will be ours.”The fox loosed her paws, and the cock fluttered into an oak. 28 h The Fox Confessor 16. An extraordinary thing: A fox was walking along from distant and deserted places. And he spied a cock in a high tree, and he spoke to him sweet words: “Oh, my dear child, Songster! You cocks sit in a high tree and think bad thoughts, cursed thoughts.You keep too many wives: some of you ten, some twenty, and others thirty, in time up to forty! Whenever you gather together, you fight over your wives as if they were concubines. Come down onto the ground, my dear child, and repent! I have come from distant and deserted places, have not drunk or eaten, and have suffered much want. I’ve just wanted to confess you, my dear child.” “Oh, mother vixen, sugary lips, sweet words, your flattering tongue! I have not fasted, I have not prayed. Come another time.” “Oh, my dear child, Songster! You have not fasted and you have not prayed, but come down to earth and repent so as not to die in your sins.” “Oh, mother vixen, sugary lips, sweet words, your flattering tongue! ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ Whatever one sows, that shall he reap. You wish to bring me to repentance by force and not save me but devour my body.” “Oh, my dear child, Songster! Why ever do you say such things? Would I do that? Have you not read the parable about the publican and the Pharisee? How the publican was saved, and the Pharisee perished on account of his pride? You, my dear child, shall perish in your high tree without repentance. Come down lower to the ground and you will be nearer repentance, forgiven and absolved and admitted to the heavenly kingdom.” Now the cock recognized the heavy sin in his soul, he became contrite, and wept tears and began descending from branch to branch, from twig to twig, from bough to bough, from stump to stump. The cock descended onto the ground and perched...


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