THE fox and his wife they had a great strife,
They never ate mustard in all their whole life;
They ate their meat without fork or knife
And loved to be picking a bone, e-ho!
The fox went out, one still, clear night,
And he prayed the moon to give him light,
For he'd a long way to travel that night,
Before he got back to his den-o!
The fox when he came to yonder stile,
He lifted his lugs and he listened a while!
'Oh, ho!' said the fox, 'it's but a short mile
From this unto yonder wee town, e-ho!'
And first he arrived at a farmer's yard,
Where the ducks and geese declared it was hard,
That their nerves should be shaken and their rest should be marred
By the visits of Mister Fox-o!
The fox when he came to the farmer's gate,
Who should he see but the farmer's drake;
'I love you well for your master's sake,
And long to be picking your bones, e-ho!'
The grey goose she ran round the hay-stack,
Oh, ho!' said the fox, 'you are very fat;
You'll grease my beard and ride on my back
From this into yonder wee town, e-ho!'
Then he took the grey goose by her sleeve,
And said: 'Madam Grey Goose, by your leave
I'll take you away without reprieve,
And carry you back to my den-o!'
And he seized the black duck by the neck,
And slung him all across his back,
The black duck cried out 'quack, quack, quack',
With his legs all dangling down-o!
Old Mother Wiggle-Waggle hopped out of bed,
Out of the window she popped her old head;
'Oh! husband, oh! husband, the grey goose is gone,
And the fox is off to his den, oh!'
Then the old man got up in his red cap,
And swore he would catch the fox in a trap;
But the fox was too cunning, and gave him the slip,
And ran through the town, the town, oh!
When he got to the top of the hill,
He blew his trumpet both loud and shrill,
For joy that he was safe and sound
Through the town, oh!
But at last he arrived at his home again,
To his dear little foxes, eight, nine, ten,
Says he, 'You're in luck, here's a fine fat duck
With his legs all dangling down-o!'
So he sat down together with his hungry wife,
And they did very well without fork or knife,
They never ate a better duck in all their life,
And the little ones picked the bones-o !
Jacobs' Notes and References
SOURCE I have inserted into Halliwell's version one current in Mr Batten's family, except that I have substituted 'Wiggle-Waggle' for 'Slipper-Slopper'. The two versions supplement one another.
REMARKS This is a pure bit of animal satire, which might have come from a rural Jefferies with somewhat more of wit than the native writer.
Jacobs, Joseph, ed. More English Fairy Tales. New York: G. P Putnam's Sons, 1894.
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