Short summary - Van den vos Reynaerde
Willem die Madoc maecte
The Lion King of Beasts Noble is hosting a reception on the occasion of the Ascension. All animals are invited. Only the rascal Fox dared not to appear at the royal feast. The wolf Isengrin submits a complaint to the lion against the Fox, his old enemy: a swindler raped the wolf's wife Gryzenta. Noble arranges a trial. He decides to give the Fox a chance to improve and instead of severe punishment orders Isengrin to conclude a peace treaty with the Fox.
At this moment, the animals see the funeral procession: a rooster and chickens are carrying a chicken torn to pieces by the Fox on a stretcher. They fall at Noble's feet, begging him to punish the villain. The angry lion orders the bear Biryuk to find the Fox and deliver it to the palace. But the cunning rascal manages to bend him too: he lures the honey lover to the bee hive, and the clumsy Biryuk gets stuck in the hollow of an oak tree. The forester, seeing the bear, calls the people. Barely alive, downtrodden with sticks, the poor man returns to Noble. Leo is angry. He instructs the cat Tyber to deliver the villain. Not daring to disobey the order of the lord, he goes to the Fox. He decides to lure the criminal into the palace with cunning and flattering speeches. But this time, too, the clever slicker puffs up the royal envoy. He invites him to go hunting together - to the priest's barn, where there are many mice, and to the chicken coop. The cat falls into the trap.
The enraged lion decides to go to war against the criminal. The animals go on a hike. Approaching the fortress where the Fox disappeared, they understand that it is not so easy to overcome the stone walls. But, seized with a thirst for revenge, the beasts still camp around the castle. All day long they storm the fortress, but all their efforts are in vain.
The animals, having lost all hope of taking the fortress, go to bed. In the meantime, the fox, having slowly got out of the castle, decides to take revenge on the enemies. He ties the tails and paws of the sleeping trees to the tree trunks and lies down next to the queen's side. Waking up, the frightened lioness raises a cry. The animals, seeing the Fox, try to rise, but cannot budge. Slug Slow, deciding to free everyone, in the heat of the moment chops off their tails and paws. The fox is already ready to run away, but at the last moment Slow manages to grab the scoundrel. Finally, the Fox is captured.
The Noble pronounces a cruel but fair sentence - to execute a liar and a villain. The wife and sons of the Fox, having learned that he was threatened with imminent death, implore Vladyka to have mercy on the criminal, offering in return a rich ransom. In the end, the lion agrees to forgive the Fox, but on condition that he abandons his impudent antics. The delighted Fox hides as soon as the rope is removed from his neck. But it turns out that in the crush and confusion Fox committed another crime - he crushed a mouse. And his trace is gone. Noble orders everyone who sees the criminal, without waiting for the trial, to deal with him on the spot.
Hard times have come for the Fox, He is forced to wander, hiding from everyone. It was not so easy to get food for yourself. But cunning and ingenuity still help him out. Either he manages to lure a piece of cheese from the raven with flattering speeches, then he puffs the fishermen returning home with a rich catch. This time, the Fox pretends to be dead, and the simpletons put him in the cart. Meanwhile, the weasel fills his belly to his fill, and even grabs some of the prey with him. That was how his household rejoiced!
Meanwhile, Isengrin, prowling for food, approaches the Fox's house. Smelling the smell of fried fish, he, forgetting about the mortal enmity with the Fox and all his crimes, asks to feed him. But the cunning man tells the wolf that the supper is for the monks, and they accept anyone who wants to join their community. Hungry Isengrin expresses his desire to join the Tyronean Order. The fox assures the wolf that for this it is necessary to cut off the tonsure. He tells him to stick his head in the door slot and pours boiling water over it. When the wolf, exhausted by these tortures, reminds him that he promised to feed him, the Fox offers Isengrin to catch his own fish. He takes him to a frozen pond, ties a bucket to his tail and tells him to lower it into the hole. When the ice freezes and the wolf is no longer able to budge, people gather to the pond. Seeing a wolf, they attack him with sticks. Left without a tail, Isengrin barely takes his legs.
King of the Beasts Noble suddenly falls ill with a serious illness. Famous healers flock to him from all over the world, but none of them can help the lion. Badger Greenber, who is Fox's cousin, convinces him that the only way to earn forgiveness and gain the King's favor is to heal him. Having collected healing herbs in a wonderful garden and having robbed the sleeping pilgrim, he appears before the Noble. The king is angry that the insolent Fox dared to appear in his eyes; but he explains to Noble the purpose of his visit. He says that to heal the sick one will need the skin of a wolf, horns of a deer and the hair of a cat. The king orders the servants to fulfill his request. The fox rejoices: Isengrin, the deer and the cat Tiber - his longtime enemies and offenders - are now disgraced forever. With the help of the potions prepared by the Fox, the king recovers. The sly man finally wins the king's love.
The lion goes to war with the pagans. He instructs the Fox to guard the palace and appoints him as his governor. Taking advantage of Noble's absence, he seduces his wife and lives without denying himself anything. Soon, an insidious plan matures in him: he persuades the messenger to announce to the beasts that the lion has died on the battlefield. The messenger reads the king's will to the beasts, concocted by the swindler Fox: after the death of the lion, the throne must pass to the Fox, and the widow of Noble will become the wife of the newly made king. Grief for the deceased sovereign is replaced by joy: no one wants to quarrel with the new king.
Soon the lion returns home with victory. He storms the castle and takes the traitor prisoner. Rooster Chauntecleer pounces on the impostor, but he pretends to be dead, and he is thrown into a ditch. Crows flock to the carrion, but they fail to feast on: the Fox tears off one of them and runs away. The ravens complain to the king, and he sends the badger Greenber to the Fox. Wanting to help out his cousin, Greenber returns and tells Noble that this time the Fox actually died, although he was safe and sound. The animals rejoice, only the lion is disappointed and saddened by the unexpected death of the enemy.