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trespaced gretly ayenst Chanticlere with his children, for I have made hym quyte of a grete dele of hem. The kynge is not goon al quyte. I have sklandered hym and the quene many tymes, that they shall never be cleer therof; yet have I begyled Ysegrym the wulf ofter than I can telle wel: I have called hym eme, but that was to deceyve hym, he is nothing of my kyn. I made hym a monke, Eelmare, where I my self also becam one. And that was to his hurte and no prouffyte. I mayde bynde his feet to the belle rope; the ryngyng of the belle thought hym so good that he wolde lerne to rynge, wherof he had shame, for he range so sore that alle the folke in the strete were aferd therof and mervaylled what myght be on the belle; and ranne thyder to fore he had comen, to axe the religyon, wherfore he was beten almost to the deth. After this I taught hym to catche fyssh where he receyvid many a stroke ; also I ledde hym to the richest prestes hows that was in Vermedos. This preest had a spynde wherin henge many a good flitche of bacon ; wherin many a tyme I was wonte to fyl my bely, in this spynde I had made an hole, in whiche I made Ysegrym to crepe. There fonde he tubbes wyth beef and many good fytches of bacon, wherof he ete so moche withoute mesure, that he myght not come out at the hole where he wente in; his bely was so grete and ful of the mete, and whan he entred his bely was smal. I wente in to the village and made there a grete showte, and noyse, yett herke what I dyde, thenne I ranne to the preest, where he satte at the table and ete,
and hadde to fore hym as fatte capone as a man myght fynde. That capone caught I, and ranne my weye therwith al that I myghte. The preest cryed out and said, Take and slee the foxe : I trowe that never man sawe more wonder: The foxe cometh in my hows and taketh my capoone fro my table: Where saw ever man an hardyer theef? And, as me thought, he toke his table knyf and casted it at me, but he touched me not. I ranne away; he shoof the table from hym, and folowed me cryeng, Kylle and slee hym. I to goo and they after, and
many moo cam after, whiche alle thought to hurte
I ranne so longe that I cam where as Isegrym was, and there I lete falle the capone, for it was to hevy for me, and ayenst my wille I lefte it there ; and thenne I sprange thurgh an hole where as I wolde be; and as the preest toke vp the capone, he espyede Isegrym, and cryde, Smyte doun here, frendes ; here is the theef, the wulf, see wel to that he escape vs not. They ranne alle togydre wyth stokkes and staues, and made a grete noyse that alle the neyghbours camen oute, and gauen hym many a shrewde stroke, and threwe at hym grete stones, in suche wyse that he fyl doun as he had ben deed. They slepid hym and drewe hym ouer stones and ouer blockes wythout the village and threwe hym in to a dyche, and there he laye al the nyght. I wote neuer how he cam thens. Syth I haue goten of hym, for as moche as I made hym to fylle his bely, that he sware that he wolde be myn helpe an hole yere. Tho ledde I hym to a place where I tolde hym ther were vij. hennes and a cocke, whiche
satte on a perche and were moche fatte. And ther stode a faldore by, and we clymmed ther vp. I sayde to hym, yf he wolde bileue me, and that he wolde
crepe in to the dore, he sholde fynde many fatte hennes. Isegrym wente al lawhyng to the dore ward, and crope a lityl in, and tasted here and there, and at laste he sayde to me, Reynarde, ye borde and iape with me, for what I seche I fynde not. Thene, said I, Eme yf ye wyl fynde, crepe forther in, he that wil wynne, he muste laboure and auenture; they that were wonte to sitte there, I haue them a waye.
Thus I made hym to seche ferther in, and shooue hym forth so ferre, that he fylle doun vpon the floer, for the perch was narow, and he fill so grete a falle, that they sprange vp alle that slepte; and they that laye nexte the fyre cryden that the valdore was open, and somthyng was falle, and they wiste not wat it myght be. They roose vp and lyghte a candel, and whan they sawe hym they smeton, beton, and wounded hym to the deth. I have brought hym thus in many a jepardye, moo than I can now rekene. I sholde fynde many moo yf I me wel bythoughte, whiche I shal telle you here after. Also, I have bydryuen wyth dame Erswynde his wyf. I wolde I had not don it: I am sory for it: hit is to her grete shame, and that me repenteth. Grymbert saide, Eme, I vnderstande you not : ye shryue you as though ye helde somwhat behynde. I wote not what ye mene, ne where ye haue lerned this langage. He sayde, I haue trespaced with his wyf. Ach dere Eme, it were grete shame yf I sholde saye it oppenly as it happed. I have
leyen by myn aunte. I am your Eme, I shold angre you yf I spak vylanye of wymmen. Neueu, now haue I told you alle that I can thynke on, sette me penaunce and assoylle me, for I haue grete repentaunce.
Grymbert was subtyl and wyse, he brake a rodde of a tree and saide, Eme, now shal ye smyte yourself thryes with this rodde on your body; and thenne leye it doun vpon the grounde, and sprynge thre tymes ther ouer without bowyng of your legges, and wythout stomblyng, and thenne shal ye take it vp and kysse it frendly, in token of mekenes and obedience of your penance that I gaf yow : herwith be ye quyte of alle synnes that ye haue don to this day, for I forgeue it yow al. The foxe was glad. Tho, sayd Grymbert to his eme, Eme, see now forthon that ye doo good werkis, rede your psalmes, goo to chirche, faste and kepe your halydayes, and gyue your allmesse, and leue your synful and yl lyf, your thefte and your treson, and so maye ye come to mercy. The foxe promysed that he wold so doo, and thenne wente they both to gydre to the court ward. A lytel besyde the waye as they wente, stode a cloyster of black nonnes, where many ghees, hennes, and capones wente withoute the walles ; and as they wente talkynge, the foxe brought Grymbert out of the right waye thyder: and wythout the walles, by the barne wente the polayle. The foxe espyed them, and saw a fatte yong capone which wente allone fro his felaws, and lepp and caught hym that the fethers flewh aboute his eeris, but the capone escaped. Grymbert sayde, what Eme, cursyd man, what wil ye
doo ? wille ye for one of thise poletes falle agayn in alle your synnes of whiche ye haue shryuen yow ? ye ought sore repent you. Reynart answerd, Truly cosyn, I had al forgoten ; praye God that he forgeue it me, for I wil neuer do so more.
Thene torned they agayn ouer a lityl brydge, yet the foxe alway loked after the polaylle, he coude not refrayne hym self, that whiche cleuid by the bone, myght not out of the flesshe; though he shold be hanged, he coude not lete the lokyng after the polayll as fer as he myght see them. Grymbert sawe his maner, and sayde, Fowle false deceyuour, how goo your eyen so after the poleyl. The foxe sayde, Cosyn, ye mysdoo to saye to me ony suche wordes; ye brynge me out of my deuocion and prayers. Late me saye a Pater Noster for alle the fowles of polaylle and ghees that I have betrayed, and ofte wyth falsheed stolen from thyse holly nonnes. Grymbert was not wel a payd, but the foxe had ever his eyen toward the polayl, til atte laste they cam in the waye agayn. And thenne torned they to the court warde. How sore quaked tho Reynard whan they aproched the court, for he wiste wel that he had for to answere to many a fowle feet and theft that he had doon.
HOW THE FOXE CAM TO THE COURT, AND HOW HE EXCUSED
HYM TOFORE THE KYNGE.
At the first whan it was knowen in the court that Reynart the foxe, and Grymbaert his cosyn were