In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Aesop's Fables: The Fox and the Grapes

8. The Fox and the Grapes - synopsis

The fox is very fond of itself, knowing itself to be both clever and handsome. Although the farmer chases it with a gun, the fox always escapes. Although the farmer locks up the hens each night, the fox always finds something else to eat.

One night the fox finds a bunch of juicy grapes, which are just out of its reach. Even though the fox can normally get what it wants, on this occasion the grapes remain out of its reach. So, it pretends that it didn’t want them anyway, claiming that they would be sour.

The Fox and the Grapes - supporting resources:

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

Story transcript - The Fox and the Grapes

One hot day at the end of summer a fox trotted along the dusty path to a farm, listening out for other creatures and sniffing the air, as foxes do. It was getting late, and after a long day the sun looked a little red in the face and had dropped out of sight behind a bush.

It was the time of day that the fox liked best. The farmer’s work was finished. He had taken off his muddy boots and gone inside for tea. The fox only showed himself when the farmer had left his boots outside. Then, if he came running after the fox with his gun - as farmers do - he would first have to sit on the step, put his boots back on again, and the fox would have plenty of time to run away.

The fox is certainly very clever, and handsome too, but no one knows this better than the fox himself. He would look at his reflection for hours admiring his beautiful red coat with its snow white bib. He would look at his smart black legs, which matched his sleek black ears. And his sleek black ears matched his shiny black nose, which looked exactly like a small polished pebble. But best of all, he thought, was his glorious bushy tail, like a big, soft paintbrush dipped in whitewash.

The farmer locked in the hens at night, and the rabbits and geese, and he shooed the ducks onto their little island in the middle of the duck pond so that the clever fox could not get them. He knew the fox hated swimming.

But the fox did not only eat chickens and rabbits and ducks and geese, though he would put them all on the menu given half a chance. If he couldn’t get into the hen house, and he couldn’t swim to the duck island, and if the geese made a fuss and rattled their beaks at him - as geese do - then there was always something else to eat. There were slugs and grasshoppers and mice and worms and frogs and eggs and big meaty bones the farmer put out with the rubbish.

And tonight there was fruit!

The fox looked up at a huge bunch of juicy grapes hanging above his head. He was very thirsty. He could imagine the sweet, delicious juice running down his chin.

But he couldn’t reach them.

He was clever, though, wasn’t he? Everyone said so, and the fox was used to getting what he wanted – so he would take a run at it, and...jump!!!


He jumped again...

And again. He leaped and hopped and bounced and somersaulted. But the juicy grapes were always just out of reach.

The fox stopped at last, hot and panting.

“Haaa well!” he said to himself. “The grapes don’t look that juicy and I just know they will be as bitter as lemons. Phooey! Who wants to eat sour grapes!”

And the fox walked slowly along the dusty path back to his den with his nose in the air and his tail between his legs - as hungry, disappointed foxes do.

Sometimes, when we can’t get what we want, we pretend we never wanted it anyway.

Programmes to download

Programmes to download at any time

Download programmes

A collection of programmes to download as mp3 files at any time. Includes dance and music.



Current podcasts

See all School Radio and other Learning podcasts available from the BBC Podcast Directory.

Contact us

Contact us

Contact us

We are always pleased to receive your feedback, suggestions and pupils' work.

Perform our School Musicals

Perform our School Musicals

School Musicals

Our performance scripts for 9 to 11s, complete with music, songs and special effects to download.

Macbeth for mobile and tablet

Macbeth videos for mobile and tablet

Macbeth animations

Watch Macbeth animated in 8 short video episodes for mobile/tablet. See the Teacher Notes.

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

Carrie's War

Coming in the Autumn term: a new reading of Carrie's War in 10 episodes. Series begins 20/09/2016.

Curriculum for Excellence

100 years since World War 1

WW1 Performance Pack

WW1 Performance Pack

Commemorate 100 years since WW1 by staging our specially-written play 'Archie Dobson's War'.

Private Peaceful - listen now!

Click to listen to Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Private Peaceful

All 13 episodes of Michael Morpurgo's moving WW1 story are available to listen to online.

Teacher's notes

Teacher's Notes

Online Teacher's Notes

Notes to support the programmes including details of all the series content.