54 great opening lines: 22

There was once a sly old fox with nine tails, who was very curious to know whether his wife was true to him:  so he stretched himself out under a bench, and pretended to be dead as a mouse.

Mrs Fox, Brothers Grimm (Trans. unknown)


I’m presently translating a few fairy tales and for inspiration have been going through a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  When I read this opening line I laughed and read it again.

I’ve found another version of the story entitled How Mrs Fox Married Again, which gives more of a clue about the plot than the simpler Mrs Fox.


Illustration by Walter Crane, found in Project Gutenberg.

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