Posted in 2017, Symbols, Writing

Common Symbols: Fox

In folklore all over the world foxes are described as cunning and mischievous. In the Cotswolds of England witches were thought to take the shape of foxes to steal butter from their neighbours. Later on in Europe, Reynard the Fox was a common folkloric figure who symbolizes trickery and deceit, and was the enemy of the wolf. This may be where the term “sly as a fox” comes from in English speaking countries, though there were earlier Greek myths which showed a fox being a trickster.

In China and Korea there are tales of fox-spirits with up to nine tails known as huli jing or kumiho in Korea. In Japan fox-spirits are known as kitsune who have the ability to transform into a human form, increase in power as they age, and are believed to be tricksters by some. However there are other people who see kitsune as guardians, friends, and lovers.

In the Arab world Kitsune are seen as cowardly, weak, and cunning as they are said to fake their deaths by puffing up their chests with air to appear bloated. In the bible the word “fox” is used to describe false-prophets. In Indigenous American folklore the fox is a trickster who is often portrayed as the companion to Coyote, however Fox is an awful companion and steals Coyote’s food. Through most Indigenous American myths Fox is represented as betraying those who get close to him/her and being a bad friend.


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