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Reynard (allegorical fables)

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Reynard the fox was the main-protagonist of a series of French, dutch, English and german fables. Even though all the characters in the fables were said to be corrupted and amoral, Reynard had committed more horrible crimes than anyone else.


Reynard lived in a castle with his wife in a kingdom of anthropomorphic animals, and was accused of numerous heinous crimes, such as blinding Isengrim the wolf's children, trying to strangle a hare and eating the chick's of Chanticleer the rooster. King Noble the lion ordered Bruin the bear to escort the fox to the court, but Reynard fooled the bear into a trap where he was badly injured by a group of human hunters. Tibert the cat was sent next but Reynard lured him into net-trap. The only one to succeed was Grimbard the brock, whom Reynard followed willingly.

Reynard was deemed guilty and sentenced to death, but convinced the king to spare him in exchange for a massive treasure. He claimed he had stolen the treasure from Isengrim and Bruin, who were planning to use it to over-throw the king. Noble believed him and imprisoned the wolf and the bear. But the fox could not yet reveal the location of the treasure, since he had a curse upon himself. In order to break the curse he had to visit the pope in rome, to which Noble agreed. He sent the Kyward the hare and Bellin the ram to escort him, but when they passed Reynards castle to say goodbye to his wife, Reynard killed and ate Kyward. Bellin returned to Noble, only carrying Kywards head to prove the fox's treason. Noble released Isengrim and Bruin and apologized for his mistake.

Noble planned to lay siege on the fox's castle, but Grimbard warned Reynard, and once again the fox attended the court to plead his case. Reynard claimed that the animals he had wronged had committed even worse crimes than himself, and argued that he never voluntarily would have attended the court if he was as guilty as they said. He even tried to woo the king once again with promises of gold and jewels. The only one who remained hostile towards the fox was Isengrim, who furiously challenged him to a duel. Despite Reynard taking several precautions the wolf almost killed him, but Reynard managed to convince him to spare him in exchange for treasure. The wolf, who was just as greedy as the lion, agreed.

King Noble pardoned Reynard for all of his crimes as long as he promised to abandon his old ways, and made him high bailiff of the country.


Reynard's amoral behavior is often excused by the fact that he's merely trying to survive in a world where everyone is amoral. This is proven in the way that all the animals are willing to trust and forgive him in exchange for treasure and delicious food. Instead of portraying a battle between good and evil, the story's conflict focuses on the struggle between strength and cunning.

Aside from his bloodthirst, charisma is undoubtedly Reynard's most prominent trait. Even though all the animals of the kingdom hated him, he was able to win them over with promises and lies alone.

With this being said, the crimes that Reynard was said to have committed were admittedly more heinous than anyone else's, such as seriously injuring, murdering and even eating children. Seeing that other predators such as Isengrim and Noble never displayed this kind of behavior, it is obviously not normal. Even though Reynard claimed this to be a lie, he clearly demonstrated carnivorous tendencies when he ate Kyward the hare.

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