The Fox Abides

The statue of the fox is based on Reynard the Fox, a recurring allegorical character found in medieval bestiaries. Popular in the Middle Ages, Reynard was famous for his wit, charisma, and cunningness. According to Rollins professor and medievalist Jana Mathews, “If someone accused you of being ‘crazy as a fox’ in the 14th century, you’d take that as a compliment!” Here, we offer seven lessons found in these centuries-old Dutch, English, French, and German fables.

Reynard the Fox

Reynard the Fox's likeness came to Rollins in 1934. (Illustration from The Comical Creatures from Wurtenberg, second edition, 1851.)

1. Do not trust flatterers.

2. Wisdom is greater than strength.*

3. What goes around comes around.

4. To win, you must work hard and play hard.

5. It is wise to speak the truth.

6. A forced promise is not a promise at all.

7. If you go looking for trouble, you’ll find it.

*A sentiment echoed on the Rose Window in the Knowles Memorial Chapel