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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

553- A Fox with Seventy-Seven Minds(1)         Image: Little Foxes painting - by Chris Coyle صورة: لوحة الثعالب الصغار، رسم الفنان كريس كويل Image: Little Foxes painting - by Chris Coyle.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: لوحة الثعالب الصغار، رسم الفنان كريس كويل.

A hedgehog met a fox who was wandering proudly. The hedgehog greeted him but the fox responded mockingly. The hedgehog looked to the proud fox saying, "I see you very rejoicing; what happened?"

"Just tell me how many minds do you have?"

"Of course, one. What about you?"

"Of course, I've seventy-seven minds; thus, all people respect and love me."

"I'll never believe till you swear in a sacred place that you've seventy-seven minds."

The fox agreed, "I'll accompany you to any place and swear that I've seventy-seven minds."

They went together to a place where the hedgehog said to the fox, "Stand here and swear that you've seventy-seven minds."

As he walked, the fox fell in a hunter's trap; he kept on crying, "Pray, rescue me for, the hunter will certainly kill me."

"I can't rescue you O the one with seventy-seven minds. Think how to rescue yourself. I've but one mind."

"It's 'cause I swore falsely that I fell in the trap. If you can't rescue me, just give me a piece of advice."

Realizing that the fox was no longer proud claiming to have seventy-seven minds, the hedgehog said, "When you hear the hunter's voice, pretend to be dead, lie on your back, lift up your legs, don't move, swell your belly and produce a bad smell. If he beat you with the stick, don't move, he'll then throw you on the way; then, you can escape."

When the fox heard the hunter's voice, he did as advised. The hunter opened the trap and beat the fox who said to himself, "You deserve to be beaten O proud liar with seventy-seven minds.” As he did not move, the hunter threw him on the way. Therefore, he escaped saying to himself, "This is my punishment for being proud. I'll not consider myself more intelligent than others again."

→ English translation of the story here at الثعلب صاحب السبعة وسبعين مخًا. Divider

"The proud has no understanding. He who lacks meekness is deprived of understanding" (St. Isaac the Syrian).


Footnotes and references for this page here at

(1) Llewelyn, Robert. The Joy of the Saints: Spiritual Readings throughout the Year. Springfield: Illinois, 1998. 131.

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