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Medieval story cunningly brought to life

Reynard the Fox

Klaas Verplancke & Henri van Daele

King Nobel summons the cunning Reynard to appear before him, but much to the king’s displeasure, ‘the fiery fox with the red beard’ is able to dispatch the royal envoys (the bear and the tomcat). To save his hide, Reynard dreams up the ultimate trick. He announces that his father is part of a group plotting against the king and that they have the infamous Kriekeputte treasure in their possession. King Nobel wants to get to the bottom of the affair and has the ‘plotters’ arrested. At the same time, Reynard pretends he is leaving on a pilgrimage to Rome, when in reality he is taking refuge with his family.

A literary and iconographic masterpiece

The Flemish version of this classic is ascribed to a certain Willem, who wrote it around 1270, taking his inspiration from existing material. A reworking of the Reynard story based on Willem’s tale appeared in 1375. Henri van Daele’s ‘Reynard the Fox’ remains faithful to the original medieval texts. His contribution consists in modernising the language to make it accessible to the younger reader. The magnificent illustrations by Klaas Verplancke bring Reynard vividly to life. Each iconographic image is a genuine masterpiece, full of quirky details that the reader can explore for hours on end.

Funny and enigmatic, clever and idiosyncratic, traditional and yet innovative