Attitudes to foxes: Foxes and literature

A pile of books
The fox is central to many pieces of literature

The fox appears in many pieces of literature. As well as several references in the bible, the fox is central in Aesop's fables from about AD500, features in Canterbury Tales and is the main component of the epic poem Reynard the fox.

Even today foxes have an important part in language and literature. Many famous children's stories contain foxes as protagonist. These include The Gingerbread Man, Chicken Licken, The Sly Red Fox and the Little Red Hen and Fantastic Mr Fox. Such stories typify the stereotype that foxes are cunning and deceitful, but also successful and to be admired. In language, to fox means to trick or deceive. It can also be used to refer to a cunning or deceitful person, though more recently a fox or foxy can be used to refer to an attractive woman.


  • Wallen, M. (2006) Fox. Reaktion Books, London.