The horse is old and tired. His master kicks him out, only to come back with a lion. Luckily he meets the fox in the forest.
The Fox and the Horse is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about an old horse who gets kicked out by his master. He is only allowed to come back with a lion. The fox helps him to trick a lion by binding his legs with the horse’s tail. The horse pulls the lion home and is welcomed back.
Complete text The Fox and the Horse
A peasant had a faithful horse which had grown old and could do no more work. His master would no longer give him anything to eat and said, “I can’t use you anymore, but I still mean well for you. If you prove yourself strong enough to bring me a lion here, I will keep you. But for now, go away out of my stable.”
With that being said, he chased him into the open country. The horse was sad and went to the forest to seek a little protection there from the weather.
In the forest he met a fox, who said to him, “Why is your head hanging down, and why are you all alone?
“Alas,” replied the horse, “Greed and fidelity do not dwell together in one house. My master has forgotten what services I have performed for him for so many years. Because I can no longer plow well, he will give me no more food, and has driven me out.”
“Without giving you a chance?” the fox asked.
“Yes, but only a bad and measly chance. He said, if I showed him to be still strong enough to bring him a lion, he would keep me, but he knows full well that I cannot do that.”
The fox said, “I will help you, just lay down, stretch yourself out, as if you are dead, and do not stir.”
The horse did as the fox asked, and the fox went to the lion, who had his den not far off, and said, “A dead horse is lying outside there, just come with me, you can have a rich meal.”
The lion went with him, and when they were both standing by the horse the fox said, “After all, it is not very comfortable for you here. I tell you what, I will fasten it to you by the tail, and then you can drag it into your cave, and devour it in peace.”
This advice pleased the lion. He lay down, and in order that the fox might tie the horse fast to him, he kept quite quiet. But the fox tied the lion’s legs together with the horse’s tail and twisted and fastened all so well and so strongly that no strength could break it.
When he had finished his work, he tapped the horse on the shoulder and said, “Pull, white horse, pull.”
At once the horse sprang up and drew the lion away with him. The lion began to roar so that all the birds in the forest flew out in terror, but the horse let him roar, and drew him and dragged him over the country to his master’s door.
When the master saw the lion, he came to his senses, and said to the horse, “You shall stay with me and have your comfortable last days.”
He gave him plenty to eat, all the days till his death.
Tips for Telling The Fox and the Horse
- There are three very different animals in this story. You don’t need to act them out to show the difference in your telling. Imagine and feel these animals when you prepare for telling.
- What happens in the end with the lion and the fox? If you have this question, your listeners will have it too.
- There are many more stories featuring a clever fox. You could tell several in one performance. See below for a list of stories with foxes.
All Questions Answered
It was published by the Brothers Grimm in the second volume of the first edition of their Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Source: Maria Anna von Droste-Hülshoff.
The Brothers Grimm included it in the 1815 first edition of their Grimm’s fairy tales.
More useful information
Fairy tales with a fox
- The Fox and His Cousin
- The Fox and the Cat
- The Fox and the Geese
- The Fox and the Horse
- The Golden Bird
- The Hare’s Bride
- The Wedding of Mrs. Fox
- The Wolf and the Fox
- The Wolf and the Man
- The Wonderful Musician
Fairy tales with a horse
- Faithful John
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Dog and the Sparrow
- The Fox and the Horse
- The Golden Bird
- The Riddle
Fairy tales with a lion
The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales on this website are based on the authentic translation of Margaret Hunt. They were edited and reformatted for pleasant reading and telling by Storyteller Rudolf Roos.
See the complete list of The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales (link to internationalstoryteller.com).