Beast

Sources : Fox

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 83): ...those above bear their offspring fully formed, these produce them unfinished. In this class beinglionesses and bears; and a fox bears its young in an even more unfinished state than the species above-mentioned, and it is rare to see one in the act of giving birth. - [Rackham translation]

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 2:29): Foxes (vulpes) are so named as if the word were volupes, for they are shifty on their feet (volubilis + pes) and never follow a straight path but hurry along tortuous twistings. It is a deceitful animal, tricking others with its guile, for whenever it has no food it pretends to be dead, and so it snatches and devours the birds that descend to its apparent corpse. - [Barney, Lewis, et. al. translation]

Aberdeen Bestiary [circa 1200 CE] (folio 16r): The word vulpis, fox, is, so to say, volupis. For it is fleet-footed and never runs in a straight line but twists and turns. It is a clever, crafty animal. When it is hungry and can find nothing to eat, it rolls itself in red earth so that it seems to be stained with blood, lies on the ground and holds it breath, so that it seems scarcely alive. When birds see that it is not breathing, that it is flecked with blood and that its tongue is sticking out of its mouth, they think that it is dead and descend to perch on it. Thus it seizes them and devours them. The Devil is of a similar nature. For to all who live by the flesh he represents himself as dead until he has them in his gullet and punishes them. But to spiritual men, living in the faith, he is truly dead and reduced to nothing. Those who wish to do the Devil's work will die...

Thomas of Cantimpré [circa 1200-1272 CE] (Liber de natura rerum, Quadrupeds 4.109): The fox, as Isidore says, is a very cunning animal. Experimentator: when the dog pursues it and tries to catch it, the fox drags its hairy tail through the mouth of the pursuer and thus deceives the dog as much as it can to reach the dense forest. The blessed Ambrose reports that the fox, in imminent danger of death, seeks a pine tree and eats the sap that flows from the pine tree; and thus he recovers his health and extends his life for a long time. During the dog days [summer] the fox is sometimes so seriously ill that it cannot run away; and then it hides in hidden dens, naturally aware of its impotence. For they have dens in the earth for protection, but they are generally caught in these. For the hunters themselves, knowing how foxes hide in dens, send little dogs trained in the art, who, penetrating the top of the den, in which the foxes lie, betray them by barking. Then the hunters, digging on the opposite side, reach and seize the fox as it lies. The Experimentator says that the fox does not labor in digging burrows, but a certain beast, which we call a badger digs them; for when the daxus [badger] has dug a hole in the ground to rest, the cunning fox, on entering the hole, empties its belly of dung, so that the hole, polluted by the stench of its putrid digestion, becomes despicable; and in truth the daxus animal detests the stench of digested dung and leaves immediately; and thus the treacherous beast takes possession of the place. The Experimentator says that the fox has a stinky mouth and is also stinky at the back. It is especially interested in houses. Its bile heals the ears and eyes. Its fat is good for the ears and gout. Its skin wrapped around a gouty foot heals, with the skin turned inside out. Its liver, roasted and drunk with wine, cures iliac affections. Its heart is capable of stopping the flow of blood; the liver likewise. Its brain, given to children, often permanently frees them from epilepsy. Its fat is good for all pains in the limbs. Its spleen also dissolves contracted organs. If the flesh of a fox is burnt, its dust is worth taking with wine for asthmatics. If a fox eats almonds, it is said to die. It suffers a heating of the liver in the summer season, whence the blood flowing to the exterior relieves him and his skin becomes ulcerated, and by this the hairs fall from his body, as Constantine says. It hunts the hare, and at first plays with it, then it test the hare with its teeth, and unless the hare escapes with speed alone, it is caught by the fox. But some of the hares, accustomed to the wickedness of the fox, flee from its game and fear its approach as an enemy. They say that a fox crossing a frozen lake with its ear pressed to the ice guesses the thickness of the frost and does not dare to cross the ice unless he finds it sufficiently strong, Pliny: Foxes are said to imitate dogs barking when they are in distress. It snatches birds with its open mouth and devours them when they carelessly descending to the carcass. The fox moves with crooked steps, so that its tracks may not be perceived by the hunters. The fox's rod is made of bone inside. - [Badke translation/paraphrase]

Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (Liber de proprietatibus rerum, Book18.113): A Foxe is called Vulpes, and hath that name, as it were wallowing féete aside, and goeth never forthright, but alway in by wayes, and with fraud, and is a false beast and deceivable: for when he lacketh meate, he faineth himselfe dead, and then fowles come to him, as it were to a carren, and anone he catcheth one and devoureth him, as Isi[dore] saith lib. 12. The Foxe halteth alway, for ye right legges be shorter than the lefte legs: his skinne is very hairy, rough, and hot, his taile is great and rough, and when an hound weneth to take him by the taile, he taketh his mouth full of haire, & stoppeth it. The Foxe doth fight with the Brocke for dens, & defileth the Brockes den with his urine and with his dirte, and hath so the mastrie over him, with fraud and deceipt, and not by strength. The Foxe inhabiteth himselfe in holes and dens under the earth, and stealeth & devoureth more tame beasts than wild. Arist[otle] saith li. 8. The Hart is friend to a Foxe, and fighteth therefore with the Brock and helpeth the Foxe. Betwéene the Foxe and the Brocke, is kindelye wrath:and often the Foxe overcommeth the Brock, more by guile, than by might and strength: and is a right gluttonous beast, and devoureth much: and he gendreth blinde whelpes, as doth the Lyon and the Woolfe, as Arist[otle] saith libro. 16. For as Solinus saith, in all beasts that gender brood incomplete, ye cause is gluttonie: for if kinde suffered them to abide untill they were complete, they should slay the dam with sucking: and therefore kinde maketh them not to be full complete, least they should slay their owne kinde by gluttonie and great desire of meate. The Foxe is a stinking beast and corrupt, and doth corrupt ofte the places that they dwell in continually, and maketh them to be barren: his wombe is white, and the necke under the throate, and his taile is redde & his backe: his breth stinketh, and his biting is some deale venemous, as Plin[ius] sayeth. And when hounds do pursue him, hee draweth in his taile betwéene his legs, and when he seeth he may not scape, hee pisseth in his taile that is full hairie and rough, and swappeth his taile full of pisse in the hounds faces yt pursue him, and the stench of the pisse is full grievous to the houndes, and therefore the hounds spare him somwhat. The Foxe faineth himselfe tame in time of neede: but by night he waiteth his time, and doth shrewd déedes. And though he bée right guilefull and malitious, yet hée is good and profitable in use of medicine, as Plin[ius] sayth lib. 28. cap. 8. For his grease and marow helpeth much against shrinking of sinewes, as it is said: his bloud is accounted tempering and dissolving, and departing harde things, and is good therefore to breake the stone in the blader and in the reynes, as it is supposed. Plinius setteth there other opinions of great men, of properties of Foxes, of whom I force not to make mention: but he saith, that if a man have upon him a Foxe tongue in a ring or in a bracelet, he shal not be blinde, as witches meane. - [Batman]