King Noble the Lion decided to hold a big court session to pass judgment on the many crimes of Reynard the Fox. He had insulted Izegrim the Wolf and his wife, stolen the last sausages from Curtise the Dog, and had eaten all the children of Chanticleer the Cock. Yes, Reynard had played so many tricks that King Noble had asked Bruin the Bear to bring him to court.
So Bruin the Bear set off for Castle Malepart where Reynard lived. Once he arrived, he shouted loudly, “Lord Cousin, open up! I come as an envoy of the King and challenge you to court.”
Reynard heard this and quickly tried to come up with a trick. He kindly approached Bruin and said, “Hello, dear uncle! Of course, I would love to come, but I have a stomach ache.”
“Oh, what’s the matter?” asked Bruin the Bear. “Honey,” answered Reynard. “I don’t normally eat it, but I was so hungry.”
Bruin the Bear began to salivate at the thought of honey and asked if Reynard had any for him. “Of course,” said Reynard, and he took Bruin to the garden of carpenter Rust. Here lay a split tree trunk full of honey. “Just stick your head in here,” said the fox.
Bruin, who was unaware of any mischief, did so and immediately got stuck. Reynard made his escape. Roaring with pain and with the greatest difficulty, Bruin managed to pull his head out of the tree trunk, but his feet remained stuck. Reynard laughed at him and fled to his castle.
The noise attracted carpenter Rust’s attention, and he found a bear in his backyard. Out of fear, he quickly called all the other people from the village to kill the bear. Fortunately, Bruin was able to free himself in time, but he hurt his paw in the process. Furious, Bruin returned to King Noble’s court.
When the King heard the whole story from Bruin, he too was angry and promised revenge. He now sent Tibert the Cat to pick up Reynard. When Tibert arrived in Malepart and delivered his message, Reynard offered to take him to a place where there were a lot of mice, so he could enjoy himself after his journey.
He took the cat to the shed of the Priest. In the wall of the shed, Reynard had made a hole to easily steal a little chicken. However, the priest was aware of this and had set a trap. When Tibert the Cat crawled through the hole in search of mice, he got stuck instead of Reynard.
Tibert begged the fox for help, but Reynard laughed at him and made his escape. When the Priest came into the shed and saw the prisoner, he thought it was Reynard, the thief. He quickly gathered his servants and together they wanted to kill the prisoner. Fortunately, Tibert was able to break the trap, but he hurt his eye during his escape.
When the King heard Tibert’s story, he was furious and now sent Grimbard the Badger to pick up Reynard. And lo and behold, Grimbard succeeded in bringing Reynard to court. All the accusations were read out on the spot. It didn’t look good for Reynard. But when Reynard started talking about the great treasure in Flanders, the King suddenly became lenient.
In exchange for the treasure, Reynard would be granted mercy. Bellin the Ram and Kyward the Hare would accompany him to collect the treasure just to be sure. Once they arrived in Malepart, Reynard left the ram waiting outside and went inside with the hare. But as soon as they were inside, Reynard bit the hare to death and ate him.
Reynard gave the hare’s head as a message to the King to be delivered by Bellin the Ram. The King was beside himself with anger and had Reynard forcefully removed from his residence, but Reynard was a clever talker. And in no time, he had convinced the King that Bellin the Ram was the guilty one and he himself was innocent.
He even offered to fight for his freedom with Izegrim the Wolf. His offer was accepted, and Reynard the Fox outsmarted the Wolf. Now King Nobel declared him free, made him a baron and counselor, and led him in a procession to his castle Malepart.