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my lady the
man can doo. That haue ye of Almyghty God by enheritance, of your noble progenytours; wherfor I your humble subgette and seruant am bounden to doo to yow alle the seruyse that I can or maye.
I cam on a tyme walkyng with the wulf Isegrym. And we hadde goten vnder vs bothe a swyne. And for his lowde cryyng we bote hym to deth, and, Syre, ye cam fro ferre out of a groue ayenst vs. lewed vs frendly, and saide, we were welcome, and that ye and quene whiche cam after
hadde grete hongre and had nothyng for to ete, and prayde vs for to gyue yow parte of our wynnyng. Isegrym spack so softe that a man vnnethe myght here hym, but I spack out, and saide : Ye, my lord, with a good will, though it were more, we wil wel that
haue parte. And thenne the wulf departed as he was wont to doo, he departed and toke that on half for hym self. And he gaf yow a quarter; for yow and the quene. That other quarter he ete and bote as hastely as he myghte, bicause he wolde ete it allone. And he gaf to me but half the longes, that I pray God that euyl mote he fare.
Thus shewde he his condicions and nature. Er men shold haue songen a Credo, ye my lord had eten your part, And yet wold ye fayn had more, for ye were not ful. And bicause he gaf you no more ne proffred yow, ye lyfte vp your right fote and smote hym bytwene the eris, that ye tare his skynne ouer his eyen, and tho he myght no lengre abyde, but he bledde, howled, and ran away, and lefte his part there lye.
Tho said ye to hym, haste yow agayn hether and brynge to vs more. And here after see better to how ye dele and parte. Thenne said I, My lord yf it plese yow I wyll goo wyth hym. I wote wel what ye saide. . I wente wyth hym, he bledde and groned as sore as he was al softly. He durst not crye lowde. We wente so ferre that we brought a calf.
And whan ye sawe vs come therwyth, ye lawhyd, for ye were wel plesyd. Ye said to me that I was swyft in hontyng. I see wel that ye can fynde wel whan ye take it vpon yow, ye be good to sende forth in a nede. The calf is goode and fatte. Herof slal ye be the delar. I saide, My lord wyth a good wyl. The one half my lord shal be for yow.
And that other half for my lady the quene. The moghettis, lyuer, longes, and the inward, shal be for your chyldren. The heed shal Isegrym the wulf haue, and I wyl haue the feet. Tho said ye, Reynart who hath taught you to departe so courtoisly. My lord, said I, that hath don this preest that sytteth her with the blody crowne, he lost his skynne wyth the vncourtoys departyng of
And for his couetyse and rauyne he hathe bothe hurte and shame. Alas ther ben many wulues now a dayes that without right and reson destroye and ete them that they may haue the ouerhand of. They spare neyther flesh ne blood, frende ne enemye: what they can gete, that take they. O woo be to that lande and to townes, where as the wulues haue the ouerhand.
My lord, this and many other good thing haue I don
her of you.
that I cowde wel telle, yf it were not to long, of whiche now ye remembre litil by the wordes that I
Yf ye wold al thyng ouersee wel, ye wold not saye as ye doo. I haue seen the day that ther shold no grete mater be concluded in this court without myn aduyse. Al be yt that this auenture is now fallen. It myght happen yet that my wordes shal be herd and also bileuyd as wel as an others as ferre as ryght wyl, for I desyre none other, for yf ther be ony can saye and make good by suffycient witnesis that I haue trespaced, I wyll abyd al the right and lawe that may come therof, and yf ony saie on me ony thyng of whiche he can brynge no wytnesses, late me thenne be rewlyd after the lawe and custome of thys court.
The kynge said, Reynart ye saye resonably. knowe not of Kywarts deth more than that Bellyn the ramme brought his heed hether in the male. Therof I lete yow goo quyte. For I haue no wytnes therof.
My dere lord, said Reynard, God thanke yow; sykerly ye doo wel, for his deth maketh me so sorowful, that me thynketh my herte wyl breke in two. O whan they departed fro me myn herte was so heuy, that me thought I shold haue swoned. I wote wel it was a token of the losse that tho was so nyghe comyng to
Alle the moost parte of them that were there, and herde the foxes wordes of the jewellis, and how he made his contenance and stratchid hym, had veryly supposed that it had not be fayned, but that it had be
tryewe. They were sory of his losse and mysauenture; and also of his sorowe. The kynge and the quene had bothe pyte of hym; and bad hym to make not to moche sorowe, but that he sholde endeuere hym to feche hem. For he had moche preysed hem, that they had grete wyl and desyre to haue them. And by cause he had made them to vnderstonde that he had sente these jewellis to them, though they neuer had them yet they thankyd hym. And prayd hym to helpe that they myght haue them.
The foxe vnderstode theyr menyng wel. He thought toward them but lytyl good. For al that, he said, God thanke yow, my lord, and my lady, that ye so frendly comforte me in my sorow.
I shal not reste nyght ne day, ne alle they that wyl doo ony thyng for me, but renne, and praye, thretene, and aske alle the four corners of the world, thaugh I shold euer seche, tyl that I knowe where they ben bicomen; and I pray you my lord the kynge, that yf they were in suche place as I cow de not gete them by prayer, by myght, ne by request, that ye wold assiste me and abide by me: for it towcheth your self, and the good is youris. And also it is your part to doo justyse on thefte and murdre whiche bothe ben in this caas.
Reynart, said the kynge, that shal I not leue whan ye knowe wher they ben. Myn helpe shal be alway redy for you. O dere lorde, this is to moche presented to me, yf I had power and myght I sholde deserue ayenst yow.
Now hath the foxe his mater fast and fayr. For he
hath the kynge in his hand as he wold. Hym thought that he was in better caas than it was lyke to haue be. He hath made so many lesynges that he may goo frely wher he wyl without complaynyng of ony of them alle. Sauf of Isegrym, which was to hym ward angry and dysplesyd, and saide, O noble kynge, ar ye so moche chyldyssh that ye byleve this false and subtyl shrewe, and suffre your self wyth false lyes thus to be deceyvyd? Of fayth it shold be longe or I shold byleve hym. He is in murdre and treson al be wrapped ; and he mocketh you to fore your visage. I shal telle hym a nother tale. I am glad that I see now hym here. Al his lesynges shal not avaylle hym er he departe fro me.
HOW YSEGRYM THE WULF COMPLAYNED AGAYN ON THE FOXE.
My lord, I pray you to take hede, this false theef betraied my wyf ones, fowle and dishonestly. Hit was so that in a wynters day that they wente to gyder thurgh a grete water; and he bare my wyf an honde that he wold teche her take fysshe wyth her tayl, and that she shold late it hange in the water a good while, and ther shold so moche fysshe cleue on it that foure of them shold not conne ete it.
The fool, my wyf, supposed he had said trouthe ; and she wente in the myre to the bely to, er she cam in to the water. And whan she was in the deppest of the water, he bad her holde her tayl stylle, til that the