|There was a woman in rural Ireland, the wife of a fisherman; as he had always good luck, she had plenty of fish at all times stored away in the house ready for market. But, to her great annoyance, she found that a great fox used to come in at night and devour all the good fish her husband would catch..
One day, as she and another woman were spinning together, the house suddenly became quite dark; and the door was burst open as if by the blast of the tempest, when in walked a huge red fox, who went straight up to the fire, then turned round and growled at them.
“I will teach you reverence,” said the fox; and, jumping at her, he scratched her arm till she started bleeding. “There, now,” he said, “you will be more civil another time when a gentleman comes to see you.” And with that he walked over to the door and shut it close, to prevent any of them going out, for the poor young girl, while crying loudly from fright and pain, had made a desperate rush to get away.
Just then a man was walking by, and hearing the cries, he pushed open the door and tried to get in; but the fox stood on the threshold, and would let no one pass. On this the man attacked him with his stick, and gave him a sound blow. The fox, however, was more than a match in the fight, for it flew at him and tore his face and hands so badly that the man at last took to his heels and ran away as fast as he could.
“Now, it’s time for my dinner,” said the fox, going up to examine the fish that was laid out on the tables. “I hope the fish is good today. Now, don’t disturb me, nor make a fuss; I can help myself.”
With that he jumped up, and began to devour all the best fish, while he growled at the woman.
“Away, out of this, you ugly beast,” she cried, giving it a blow with the tongs.
But the fox only grinned, and went on tearing and spoiling and devouring the fish On this, both the women attacked it, and struck hard blow, they thought. But the fox glared at them and, making a leap, tore their heads and arms till the blood came, and the frightened women rushed shrieking from the house.
But the mistress returned, carrying with her a bottle of druid water. Looking in, she saw the fox still devouring the fish, and not minding. So she crept over quietly and threw druid water on it without a word. No sooner was this done than a dense black smoke filled the place. Nothing was seen but the two eyes of the fox, and they were burning like coals of fire. But when the smoke gradually cleared and disappeared, the fox had run away.
From that time the fish remained untouched and safe from harm, and the greedy fox was seen no more. Like the previous English tale, this Irish tale is more of a fun little adventurous story to spook children, although it does feature a more satirical edge with little bits of humor staged throughout the folktale, which makes it more fun and accessible for someone outside the culture reading it, such as myself.