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Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales: The Fox and the Geese

“The fox once came to a meadow in which was a flock of fine fat geese, on which he smiled and said, ‘I come at the nick of time, you are sitting together quite beautifully, so that I can eat you up one after the other.'”

This is quite a short tale in which not a lot happens, and so this post will also be quite short.

After the fox threatened the geese, they understandably “cackled with terror, sprang up, and began to wail and beg piteously for their lives.” However the fox tells them there will be “‘no mercy'”, and so the geese start to accept their fate. One of the geese requested that the fox wait to hand them their fate until after one more prayer, which fortunately for the geese, the fox grants their request.

Then the first began a good long prayer, forever saying, “Ga! Ga!” and as she would make no end, the second did not wait until her turn came, but began also, “Ga! Ga!” The third and fourth followed her, and soon they were all cackling together.
When they have done praying, the story shall be continued further, but at the present they are still praying, and they show no sign of stopping.

I enjoy this clever, cliffhanger ending of the story, especially since it means the geese have yet to meet the wicked fate imposed on them by the fox himself—although by now they would have succumbed to natural causes, right? 1812 was a long time ago.

Sorry for going slightly awry with my commentary there; I’ve lightened the mood a bit in the EXTRAS below by pointing out the significance of this story to the original Grimm collection.



  • The Fox and the Geese was placed last in Volume 1 of the initial Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales collection; in that context, the open-endedness of this tale feels more significant (and intentionally fun).
    • The Golden Key closed out Volume 2 of the original collection; that tale also features a cliffhanger [of a different kind].
  • Fox  & Geese Board Game — which isn’t really related to this story but it came up when I was researching the tale so I thought it would be fun to include it here.

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