Fox, The

DESCRIPTION: Fox goes hunting on a (chilly) night. It goes to the farmer's yard and takes a goose. The farmer and wife are aroused; the farmer sets out after the fox. Fox escapes home with its kill; the fox family celebrates with a fine dinner
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1810 (Gammer Gurton's Garland); the version in British Library MS. Royal 19.B.v is thought to cage from c. 1500
KEYWORDS: animal food hunting
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,NW,Ro,SE,So) Britain(England(Lond,South,West),Scotland(Aber)) Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf) West Indies(St Vincent)
REFERENCES (57 citations):
Randolph 103, "The Fox Walked Out" (4 texts, 2 tunes)
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 135-137, "The Fox Walked Out" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 103A)
Eddy-BalladsAndSongsFromOhio 91, "The Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
Grimes-StoriesFromTheAnneGrimesCollection, pp. 137-138, "The Fox" (1 text)
Gardner/Chickering-BalladsAndSongsOfSouthernMichigan 192, "The Fox and the Goose" (1 text)
Stout-FolkloreFromIowa 28, pp. 42-44, "The Black Duck" (1 text plus a fragment)
Carey-MarylandFolkloreAndFolklife, pp. 62-63, "Lucky Old Town O" (1 text)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 129, "The Fox and the Goose" (4 texts plus mention of 1 more)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 129, "The Fox and the Goose" (1 tune plus a text excerpt)
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 127, "The Fox Walked Out" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Hubbard-BalladsAndSongsFromUtah, #202, "The Fox Traveled Out" (1 text)
Brewster-BalladsAndSongsOfIndiana 77, "The Fox" (1 fragment)
Creighton/Senior-TraditionalSongsOfNovaScotia, pp. 248-250, "The Fox" (2 texts plus 1 fragment, 1 tune)
Pottie/Ellis-FolksongsOfTheMaritimes, pp. 110-111, "The Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 12-13, "The Fox and the Goose" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Brown-VermontFolkSongsAndBallads, pp. 119-120, "Fox and Goose" (1 text)
Linscott-FolkSongsOfOldNewEngland, pp. 202-204, "A Fox Went Out on a Starry Night" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fuson-BalladsOfTheKentuckyHighlands, pp. 181-182, "Old Man Fox" (1 text)
Roberts-SangBranchSettlers, #95, "The Fox and the Goose" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 226, "The Old Black Duck" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-1ed, pp. 263-265, "The Brown Duck" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-2ed, pp. 146-147, "The Brown Duck" (1 text, 1 tune)
Abernethy-SinginTexas, pp. 23-24, "The Fox Is on the Town" (1 text, 1 tune)
Logan-APedlarsPack, pp. 291-293, "The Fox" (1 text)
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, pp. 247-248, "The Fox and the Grey Goose" (1 text) (also Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 354)
OShaughnessy-YellowbellyBalladsPart2 43, "Rush Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gundry-CanowKernow-SongsDancesFromCornwall, p. 59, "The Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hamer-GarnersGay, p. 75, "Old Daddy Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud/Bishop-NewPenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs #110, "The Hungry Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lyle/McAlpine/McLucas-SongRepertoireOfAmeliaAndJaneHarris, pp. 151-152, "Tod Lowrie" (1 text, 1 tune, short but almost certainly this)
Greig/Duncan3 499, "Father Fox" (3 text fragments, 2 tunes)
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland 301, "Old Daddy Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
OCroinin/Cronin-TheSongsOfElizabethCronin 160, "The Fox Went Out" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Leach-TheBalladBook, p. 749, "The Fox" (1 text)
Leach-HeritageBookOfBallads, pp. 184-185, "The Fox" (1 text)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H38, p. 29, "The Fox and His Wife" (1 text, 1 tune)
Coleman/Bregman-SongsOfAmericanFolks, pp. 12-13, "The Fox Went Through the Town, Oh!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 163, "The Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cox/Hercog/Halpert/Boswell-WVirginia-B, #21, pp. 172-173, "The Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
Abrahams-DeepTheWaterShallowTheShore, pp. 103-104, "Gray Goose Gone Home" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 171, "A fox jumped up one winter's night" (2 texts)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #116, p. 96, "(Old Mother Widdle Waddle jumpt out of bed)"
Seeger-AmericanFavoriteBallads, p. 80, "The Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 400, "The Fox" (1 text)
Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, p. 233, "The Fox" (notes only)
Tobitt-TheDittyBag, p. 41, "A Fox Went Out on a Starry Night" (1 text, 1 tune)
SongsOfAllTime, pp. 66-67, "The Black Duck" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Robbins-IndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse, #1622, 3328
DigitalIndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse #2715, 5253
ADDITIONAL: Celia and Kenneth Sisam, _The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse_, Oxford University Press, 1970; corrected edition 1973, #240, p. 511, "The Fox and the Goose" (1 text, from British Library MS. Royal 19 B. iv, folio 97b, column ii, beginning, "Pax vobis, quod the fox, For I am comen to towne.")
Douglas Gray, _The Oxford Book of Late Medieval Verse and Prose_, Oxford University Press, 1985, pp. 164-165, "The Fox and the Goose" (1 text)
Rossell Hope Robbins, Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Century , Oxford University Press, 1952, p. 43, "The Fox and the Goode (1 text, the same as Sisam's but with a different transrcription); compare pp. 44-45, "The False Fox," which appears to be an expanded rewriting of the text
Joseph Ritson, Gammer Gurton's Garland (London: Harding and Wright, 1810 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 41, "Dame Widdle Waddle" (1 text)
Tom Nash and Twilo Scofield, _The Well-Travelled Casket: Oregon Folklore_, Meadowlark Press, 1999, pp. 89-90, "Old Mr. Fox" (1 text, 1 tune)
MANUSCRIPT: London, British LIbrary, MS. Royal 19.B.iv, folio 97 ("It fell ageyns the next nyght, The fox yede"; IMEV #1622)
MANUSCRIPT: Cambridge, University Library MS. Ee.1.12 [The James Ryman manuscript, 1492], folio 80 ("The fals fox came vnto oure croft"; IMEV #3328)

ST R103 (Full)
Roud #131
Blue Ridge Highballers, "Darneo" (Columbia 15132-D, 1927)
Harry Burgess, "The Hungry Fox" (on Voice18)
Cyril Biddick with chorus, "Old Daddy Fox" (on Lomax41, LomaxCD1741)
Pete Seeger, "The Fox" (on PeteSeeger09, PeteSeegerCD02) (on PeteSeeger18)
Mrs. Clara Stevens, "The Fox and the Goose" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]

Daddy Fox
Old Mother Hippletoe
The Fox and the Grey Goose
Up, John, Get Up, John
NOTES [356 words]: The earliest version of this piece appears to have been a Middle English poem found in British Museum MS. Royal 19.B.iv, and is thought to date from the fifteenth century; this is the version cited, e.g., by Sisam and Robbins. About as old is a strange version in Cambridge MS. Ee.1.12 (the James Ryman manuscript) with an extended prologue about the fox's raids but with lyrics closer to most modern versions; this is the second Robbins version. It is reasonable to assume that this, and perhaps even the British Museum text, are rewritings of documents still older.
Robbins, p. 242, says that in the second version, the fox hears confession from the hens and grants them absolution. But this is only a small part of the expansion.
Wells, pp. 184-185, says this of "The False Fox," "it was evidently intended to be sung. It is in MS. C[ambrige] Univ. Libr. Ee I 12 (15th century), associated with a version of the Psalms... said in the MS. to be of 1342. The poem consists of 18 five-stress couplets each with a couplet refrain, the first line of which has six, the second seven, stresses. In crude song, it tells with much humor of the visits of the fox to croft, sty, yard, hall, and coop, stealing 'our geese'; of the good wife stoning him, and the good man beating him; of the fox's escape; of his merry feast; and of his purposed visit next week to carry off hen and chick."
This specific piece is Brown/Robbins-IndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse, #3328, "The fals fox came vnto oure croft."
It should perhaps be noted that foxes are asocial animals; the males do not take part in raising the young. So the "fox and his wife" would not meet to care for their children.
Ravenscroft had a piece, "Tomorrow the Fox Will Come to Town," reprinted e.g. in Chappell-PopularMusicOfTheOldenTime, pp. 83-84. I wouldn't be surprised if it were inspired by this piece, but since it doesn't really have a plot, I wouldn't consider it the same song.
According to Rafeliff, pp. 57-58, this was the tune J. R. R. Tolkien intended to be used with his poem "The Stone Troll," which is found in The Lord of the Rings and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. - RBW
Bibliography Last updated in version 6.3
File: R103

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