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Aesop's Fables: The Fox and the Crow

3. The Fox and the Crow - synopsis

A crow is sitting in a tree with a piece of cheese in its beak. A passing fox would like to eat the cheese and tries to persuade - and then trick - the crow to bring the cheese down or drop it. The crow does not fall for this, so the fox tries flattery instead.

The fox tells the crow how lovely his feathers are, and how fine-looking his head. Then, the fox says how much he would like to hear the crow sing. Tricked by the flattery, the crow opens his beak to sing, dropping the cheese to the ground, where the fox gobbles it up.

The Fox and the Crow - supporting resources:

  1. The Fox and the Crow - print story
  2. Complete Teacher's Notes

Story transcript - The Fox and the Crow

One morning a Fox was walking through the woods looking for something tasty to eat for his breakfast when his nose picked up a scent; a scent of something very interesting. He stood still and sniffed the air.

‘Cheese,’ he said. ‘I smell cheese. Now why would there be cheese in the middle of a wood like this?’

The Fox didn’t have to wait long to find out because there sitting on a branch high up in a tree sat a crow and in the crow’s beak was the biggest piece of cheese he’d ever seen. Now the Fox loved cheese more than anything in the whole world and he decided that come what may he would have that piece of cheese for himself.

‘Morning Mr Crow,’ he said. ‘Why don’t you come down and have a little chat.’

The Crow didn’t reply. He just sat on his branch and looked down at the Fox.

‘He must think I’m stupid,’ thought the Crow to himself. ‘That fox is after my cheese. If I fly down there he’ll jump on me and gobble me up first and then the cheese. Foxes can’t climb trees so I’ll just sit up here and enjoy my piece of cheese.’

The Crow was just about to swallow his lump of cheese when the Fox said: ‘That cheese looks a bit mouldy to me. I wouldn’t eat it if I were you. Mouldy cheese is very very dangerous. You could easily get ill from bad cheese. If I were you I’d be on the safe side and just drop that cheese right now.’

‘Oh no,’ thought the Crow. ‘I’m not falling for that. There’s nothing wrong with this cheese. I found it fresh this morning. It smells wonderful and I’m going to eat it right now.’

The Crow looked straight at the Fox and waggled his piece of cheese as if to say ‘Look what I’ve got! Aren’t I the lucky one!’

‘Right,’ thought the Fox. ‘This Crow isn’t quite as stupid as he looks. I’m going to have to try something else.’

‘You know, Mr Crow,’ said the Fox, ‘you really do have the most lovely feathers.’

The Crow smiled to himself. He was rather proud of his sleek black feathers. The Fox was right. They were rather lovely.

‘And your head,’ said the Fox. ‘Your head is very fine indeed. Makes you look fierce...but wise at the same time.’

‘Right again,’ thought the Crow. ‘That Fox knows what he’s talking about because I do look fierce...and I am very very wise.’

‘And I bet you’ve got the most beautiful singing voice too,’ said the Fox. ‘I can tell just by looking at you. I mean all crows are good singers...’

The Crow nodded.

‘And I bet you’re the best singer out of all the crows.’

The Crow nodded again.

‘See, I can tell you’re a great singer just by looking at you. Oh how I’d love to hear you sing. Just once. That’s all I ask. Just one little song would make me so happy.’

The Crow’s mind was racing as the Fox started to walk away.

‘Oh well I see I’m not in luck today,’ sighed the Fox. ‘Suppose I’ll just have to go and listen to a boring old sky lark...or nightingale...’

The crow thought to himself. ‘The Fox is right. I’m a wonderful singer. Much better than those boring nightingales...and larks...very over-rated...I shall sing. I shall sing for the Fox right now.’

As the Crow opened his beak and started to sing...the piece of cheese fell to the ground.

The Fox licked his lips. ‘Thank you, Mr Crow,’ he said. ‘You can stop singing now. That horrible sound's spoiling my breakfast.’

‘But you said you loved to hear a crow sing.’

‘Never believe what people tell you when they’re trying to steal your cheese,’ said the Fox and he winked at the crow as he gobbled up the last little bit.

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