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The Fox Without a Tail

The Fox without a Tail

The Fox Without A Tail

Said Fox, minus tail in a trap,
“My friends! here's a lucky mishap:
Give your tails a short lease!”
But the foxes weren't geese,
And none followed the fashion of trap.


The Fox Without A Tail


A fox once fell into a trap, and after a struggle managed to get free, but with the loss of his brush. He was then so much ashamed of his appearance that he thought life was not worth living unless he could persuade the other Foxes to part with their tails also, and thus divert attention from his own loss. So he called a meeting of all the Foxes, and advised them to cut off their tails: "They're ugly things anyhow," he said, "and besides they're heavy, and it's tiresome to be always carrying them about with you." But one of the other Foxes said, "My friend, if you hadn't lost your own tail, you wouldn't be so keen on getting us to cut off ours."

The Fox Without a Tail

It happened that a Fox caught its tail in a trap, and in struggling to release himself lost all of it but the stump. At first he was ashamed to show himself among his fellow foxes. But at last he determined to put a bolder face upon his misfortune, and summoned all the foxes to a general meeting to consider a proposal which he had to place before them. When they had assembled together the Fox proposed that they should all do away with their tails. He pointed out how inconvenient a tail was when they were pursued by their enemies, the dogs; how much it was in the way when they desired to sit down and hold a friendly conversation with one another. He failed to see any advantage in carrying about such a useless encumbrance. "That is all very well," said one of the older foxes; "but I do not think you would have recommended us to dispense with our chief ornament if you had not happened to lose it yourself."

Distrust interested advice.

Illustration 177

The Fox Without A Tail

Fashions  and modes we often see,

Made to conceal deformity:

Those to whom nature has been kind,

Should leave such fopperies behind.

A fox who in a trap was taken,

Resign'd his brush to save his bacon.

Ashamed that all the world should know

His cunning had been cheated so,

To an assembly of the nation

He made the following oration:

"I oft have thought the tails we wear

A troublesome appendage are;

Where's their utility, I pray?

They serve but to obstruct our way.

Nor ornamental do I find,

To drag this ponderous length behind.

For my part, without more debate,

I move our tails we amputate."

"Please, sir, to show yourself behind,"

(Says one to smoke the jest inclin'd,

And who discovered what it was)

"We there perhaps shall see the cause,

Ere we your prudent counsel take,

Why you this curious motion make?"

His bare posteriors when they found,

Loud laughter shook the benches round;

Nor could the fox without a tail

To introduce the mode prevail.

A fox without a tail.

The Fox Without A Tail

A fox without a tail arguing with other foxes.

The Fox Without A Tail

A Fox had had his tail docked off in a trap, and in his disgrace began to think his life not worth living. It therefore occurred to him that the best thing he could do was to bring the other Foxes into the same condition, and so conceal his own deficiency in the general distress. Having assembled them all together he recommended them to cut off their tails, declaring that a tail was an ungraceful thing; and, further, was a heavy appendage, and quite superfluous. To this one of them rejoined: "My good friend, if this had not been to your own advantage you would never have advised us to do it."

A spinster instructs a group of younger ladies on the unnecessary nature of husbands. The caption says, “Nonsense, my dears! Husbands are ridiculous things & are quite unnecessary!”

A fox without a tail.

The Fox Without A Tail


A Fox that had been caught in a trap, succeeded at last, after much painful tugging, in getting away. But he had to leave his beautiful bushy tail behind him.

For a long time he kept away from the other Foxes, for he knew well enough that they would all make fun of him and crack jokes and laugh behind his back. But it was hard for him to live alone, and at last he thought of a plan that would perhaps help him out of his trouble.

He called a meeting of all the Foxes, saying that he had something of great importance to tell the tribe.

When they were all gathered together, the Fox Without a Tail got up and made a long speech about those Foxes who had come to harm because of their tails.

This one had been caught by hounds when his tail had become entangled in the hedge. That one had not been able to run fast enough because of the weight of his brush. Besides, it was well known, he said, that men hunt Foxes simply for their tails, which they cut off as prizes of the hunt. With such proof of the danger and uselessness of having a tail, said Master Fox, he would advise every Fox to cut it off, if he valued life and safety.

When he had finished talking, an old Fox arose, and said, smiling:

"Master Fox, kindly turn around for a moment, and you shall have your answer."

When the poor Fox Without a Tail turned around, there arose such a storm of jeers and hooting, that he saw how useless it was to try any longer to persuade the Foxes to part with their tails.

Do not listen to the advice of him who seeks to lower you to his own level.


A Fox, being caught in a steel trap by his tail, was glad to compound for his escape with the loss of it; but, upon coming abroad into the world, began to be so sensible of the disgrace such a defect would bring upon him, that he almost wished he had died rather than left it behind him. However, to make the best of a bad matter, he formed a project in his head to call an assembly of the rest of the Foxes, and propose it for their imitation, as a fashion which would be very agreeable and becoming. He did so, and made a long harangue upon the unprofitableness of tails in general, and endeavoured chiefly to show the awkwardness and inconvenience of a Fox's tail in particular: adding, that it would be both more graceful and more expeditious to be altogether without them; and that, for his part, what he had only imagined and conjectured before, he now found by experience; for that he never enjoyed himself so well, and found himself so easy as he had done since he cut off his tail. He said no more, but looked about with a brisk air, to see what proselytes he had gained; when a sly old thief in the company, who understood trap, answered him with a leer—'I believe you may have found a conveniency in parting with your tail, and when we are in the same circumstances, perhaps we may do so too.'


If men were but generally as prudent as Foxes, they would not suffer so many silly fashions to obtain as are daily brought in vogue, for which scarce any reason can be assigned besides the humour of some conceited vain creature; unless, which is full as bad, they are intended to palliate some defect in the person that introduces them. The petticoat of a whole sex has been sometimes swelled to such a prodigious extent, to screen an enormity of which only one of them has been guilty. And it is no wonder that Alexander the Great could bring a wry-neck into fashion, in a nation of slaves, when we consider what power of this nature some little, insignificant, dapper fellows have had among a free people.