The Fox in the Chicken Coop©

Night after night, a big red fox broke into a farmer’s chicken coop and stole his prize chickens.

“I’ll catch that fox,” said the angry farmer. “He won’t live another day.”

He built a trap inside the chicken coop. It was a large net attached to a frame. He attached a hidden wire to make the net fall over the fox when he stepped on it. The chickens were quite happy to see this strange-looking trap, and they stayed far away from it.

That evening, when the sun was setting, the fox came creeping toward the chicken coop. He very quietly dug his way under the fence and into the coop. As he started toward the henhouse, he tripped on the wire. The frame and net came crashing down on him, pinning him to the ground. The noise awakened the chickens. They ran out to see what happened. There was the big red fox, tangled under the net, trying to get loose.

“Help! Help!” cried the fox. “Help me out of here!”

“Are you kidding?” shouted a rooster. “You will pay with your life when the farmer gets his hands on you.”

“Oh, no, please don’t let the farmer catch me. I’ll do anything you say.”

The rooster laughed. “Of course, you’ll do anything to save your life, now that you’ve been caught.”

All the chickens agreed and began making fun of the fox. However, one of the mother hens stepped forward. “Just a minute. I have a question. Mister Fox, you said you would do anything to save your life.”

“Yes, anything you ask,” answered the fox.

“Well,” she replied, “if you will do anything to save your life, will you do anything to save our lives also?”

“Of course I will,” said the fox.

“Very well,” said the hen. “If we set you free from this trap, will you remain here in this chicken coop and protect us from any other foxes that try to get in?”

The fox was surprised at such a question, but his life was at stake. So he quickly shouted, “Oh, yes, I will! I’ll stay in here for the rest of my life and protect you.”

The chickens were happy to hear his reply, but they were not sure they could trust him. After all, foxes are known to be very foxy. However, after much discussion, they decided to set him free. They pecked away at the netting until it fell apart. The fox hopped out.

To everyone’s surprise, he kept his promise and remained in the coop as their protector. When the farmer came the next day, he could not believe his eyes. There was the fox playing with the chickens and protecting them from all outsiders. Never before had anyone seen such a sight.

It wasn’t long before everyone in the nearby town heard about it and came to see the fox in the chicken coop. “How could this be?” they asked.

The farmer could not explain. He could not understand how this chicken-eating fox could change his ways so quickly. Only the chickens, you, and I know the answer: When he got caught and trapped inside, he changed his ways to save his hide.

When in trouble, realize
It is wise to compromise.