Reineke Fuchs (Goethe)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe against the background of a scene from Reineke Fuchs , chalk drawing by Johann Heinrich Lips on a postage stamp from 1949

Reineke Fuchs (the spelling “Reineke” is not from Goethe - he probably wrote “Reinecke” for stress reasons. Goethe's last edition , Cotta, 1830) is an epic in twelve songs by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe . Created in 1793, it was first printed in May 1794. The Reineke Fuchs story goes back to medieval fables; Goethe referred above all to the prose adaptation by Johann Christoph Gottsched in 1752 of a verse epic from Reynke de vos that had initially appeared in Low German since 1498 .

Goethe - quite in competition with Johann Heinrich Voss  , who was successful in this - consistently chose the hexameter as the verse form . Up to the king, the protagonists of his play are animals that play in human roles and belong to a court. He gave the work strongly mocking, sometimes malicious features; his epic can certainly be read as a critique of court life, which he knew well.


First chant

Nobel , “the king, gathers the court,” and almost everyone comes. Nevertheless, Reineke Fuchs is missing , “the rogue! … Everyone had to complain, he had offended them all. ” Isegrim , the wolf, laments that Reineke had dishonored his wife Gieremund . The little dog Wackerlos whines in French that the fox has taken a sausage from him. The cat Hinze angrily throws in that the sausage belonged to him. And Reineke wanted to hit the rabbit lamp , the king's postman.

Reineke has an advocate. His nephew Grimbart , the badger, disproves charge after charge. Lawyer Grimbart even turns the tables. Once, when Reineke duped the carter at the risk of death and threw fish off the load for Isegrim, Reineke was the brave one, the humble one who went empty-handed, and Isegrim the devious gobbler.

But then the tide turns. Henning , the rooster, brings the hen Kratzefuß, who was killed by the fox, "on a sad stretcher". In the case of murder, the king must intervene. Reineke is to "present themselves at the king's court on the Lord's day when they first meet;" Braun , the bear, is "appointed messenger."

Second song

The bear reaches Malepartus , the burrow, but it is no match for the cunning fox. Reineke suggests that tomorrow is also a day of travel. Today, however, he wants to take the bear to Farmer Rusteviel and serve him “honey slices” there. Braun can't resist. Both go. There is an oak trunk on the farm, into which two wedges are driven. Rüsteviel, who also works as a carpenter, wants to split the trunk when he has slept in. Reineke says to the bear: "My uncle, there is more honey in this tree than you suspect, now stick your snout in as deep as you like." And when the greedy brown has done it, Reineke brings "with a lot of pulling and Pull ... the wedges out "and" the brown one is "trapped". The villagers gather from the bear's nagging and beat Braun up. In his desperate attempts at liberation, Braun badly damaged his face and ears.

Nobel the king is looking for a second ambassador. They agree on Hinze, the tomcat, “because he is clever and agile.” The tomcat has no desire: “I think sending everyone else is better because I'm so small.” It doesn't help him. He has to march off.

Third chant

The tomcat reaches Malepartus' burrow. He is no better off than the bear. Reineke wants to offer him honey slices. Hinze prefers mice. “Do you like to eat mice so much?” Reineke pokes at the visitor and leads him “to the priest's barn, to the clay wall. Reineke had cleverly dug it through yesterday and stole the best of his cocks from the sleeping priest through the hole. ”A noose is carefully laid for the“ returning thief ”. Reineke makes the cat's mouth watered for mice: “Oh, hear how lively they whistle!” Hinze jumps into the noose and the rope tightens. Meanwhile, Reineke is doing all sorts of mischief, committing "Ehbruch" again with the she-wolf Gieremund, but very insidious. “Reineke slipped” through a crack in the wall, “but he had to squeeze, because the crack was narrow; and the she-wolf, tall and strong as she was, quickly stuck her head in the crack; she pushed, pushed and broke and pulled and wanted to follow, and she kept getting trapped and couldn't move forward. "Reineke turns a lap, comes behind Gieremund and" bothers her. "Meanwhile, the cat is instead of the fox, who has stolen a roast from the priest to wake him up and drops the feast in front of the barn, thoroughly beaten. Because one thief got away, but you could take the other, the chicken thief, into it. An "eye" is knocked out of him, but the cat takes revenge and emasculates the pastor, allowing him to escape.

Now the king sends the badger out. Grimbart manages to get his uncle to confess about all his atrocities and to get him to the royal court. On the way, the fox relapses once: He steals and eats a capon from the monastery. He immediately regrets what he did, but has to be careful not to steal another poultry from the same monastery.

Fourth chant

It will be made short process . The numerous enemies of the fox obtain the death penalty for the rogue from the king. The many relatives of the fox angrily withdraw from the court. That alienates the king. Reineke has no chance, he should "hang on his neck so that he can serve his serious crimes with a shameful death." But Reineke "does not let hope go." Then the saving idea comes to him. He asks to be allowed to repent publicly. The request is granted to him and he chatters to the king and queen about his raids with Isegrim and how he was always kept tight by the wolf. “But thank God,” the fox continues, “I didn't go hungry because of it; I secretly feed on my wonderful treasure, on the silver and gold that I keep secretly in a safe place; I've had enough of that. Truly no car can get him away, even if he drives seven times. "Reineke goes one better:" Because the treasure was stolen. Many had conspired to murder you, Herr König. ”Reineke is saved. Nobel, the king, wants to know more about the conspiracy and above all about the treasure.

Fifth chant

Reineke invents “bottomless lies”, slanders his father and “his most honest friend”, the badger. With the "sorry gold" it has the following reasoning. Reineke's father once discovered, he continues to lie, "King Emmrich's treasure on hidden paths". The find went to the father's head and he looked for higher friends. Braun, Isegrim, Grimbart, Hinze and his father are the five conspirators who decided "the death of the king" to use the treasure to recruit mercenaries in Saxony and the surrounding area and Braun, the bear, "wanted to elect himself king." But he, the one Good Reineke, I discovered the treasure with great difficulty and with his wife, the fox Ermelyn , "carried it away to a place." When the treasure had gone, his father would have hanged himself, the fox continues to lie. Reineke emphasizes a little that he "gave his birth father to save the king."

The royal couple only want one thing - the treasure. "Tell me, where do you have the treasure?" They urge the rogue. Reineke first lets the king forgive all of his crimes and gives the location of the treasure. In “ East of Flanders ” near Hüsterlo, where only “Eul and the Schuhu” live, in “Brunn Krekelborn” it is located. Nobel only knows Aachen, Lübeck, Köllen and Paris, but Hüsterlo and Krekelborn are unknown to him. So Reineke should lead him. The fox wins lamp as a royal companion. Because he himself would like to make a pilgrimage to Rome immediately to “seek mercy and indulgences.” Nobel thinks that is good and gives Reineke “gracious leave.”

Sixth chant

Isegrim, the wolf, and Braun, the bear, languish as potential regicide "bound" and "wounded" in Nobel's dungeon. Reineke, on the other hand, basks in the king's new grace. Before the false pilgrim sets out, he recommends that the king keep "the two traitors" Isegrim and Braun "bound in dungeon". Lampe, the compassionate hare, and the ram Bellyn , chaplain and clerk of the king, accompany Reineke a part of the way. First you pass the apartment of Malepartus the Fox. Reineke flatters Lampe, what a humble grazer he is, and invites him into his den. On the other hand, he recommends rams to taste the herbs in front of the burrow. Inside it happens immediately. Lamp yells: “The pilgrim is killing me!” But “Reineke soon bit his throat” and he eats the rabbit with relish together with his wife. He only puts “Lampen's head” nimbly into his “satchel”. Before the fox gives the "message" for Nobel to the ram, who is already waiting impatiently outside, he and his wife consult with his wife as to which German country the fox family could emigrate to. You come to Swabia because there are “chickens, geese, hares, rabbits and sugar and dates, figs, raisins and birds of all kinds and sizes”. The fox wants to go anywhere, just not "under the control of the king". Mrs. Ermelyn, the vixen, would rather stay in the country. Reineke goes out, tells the ram not to open the satchel on the way, and advises him to whisper to the king that he - Bellyn - had “helped the scribe; it brings you advantage and honor. "

The truth comes to light at court. “This is Lampen's head, nobody will misunderstand it.” Nobel, the King, realizes his mistake. The “traitor” Reineke “moved him with shameful cunning” to “punish” his “friends” Braun and Isegrim.

Bellyn is turned over to the wolf who eats him for the murder of Lampe, which he did not commit. Nobel the king also gives Isegrim and his clan the right to take revenge on Bellyn's entire clan. That, so the fable says, would explain why wolves steal sheep and goats.

Seventh chant

Illustration for "Reineke Fuchs" by Wilhelm von Kaulbach

Braun and Isegrim are honored again at court and forget "their sufferings". Meanwhile, the "lying pilgrim" lies in wait at home. At court there is “eight days of dancing and singing.” Then the fun is over. The rabbit appears "with a bloody head". It lost an ear on the way to the royal court at the Fuchsbau through Reineke's “claws”. Unheard of, the way to the king is uncertain! The measure is full when Merkenau , the “talkative crow” bird, has to report about the murder of his wife Scharfenebbe by the pilgrim. “I punish this outrage”, the king is angry. “I trust the rogue too easily and let him escape.” Isegrim and Braun sway themselves in the hope that “in the end” they “after all” will still be “smelled”. But the queen reminds the king that “both parties” can “always be heard”. So Nobel and his comrades want to storm the Malepartus fortress "with bow and spear and all other rifles". Grimbart, one of the king's counselors, "goes away secretly" and rushes to the uncle. “Why are you running so much?” He wonders. "You cackle!" Grimbart reveals the news. Seemingly unimpressed, Reineke replies: “Tomorrow I'll go to court with you.” But during the night when everyone was sleeping together in the building “covered with hay and leaves”, “Reineke woke up with fear”. But he has to go for the sake of his wife and children.

Eighth chant

On the way to the king, Reineke confesses to his relative, the badger, again. He begins with how he has "cooled his little cap". He "killed lamps" and he "packed Bellyn with the head of the murdered man". And - as Reineke further confesses - he "ate" the crow Scharfenebbe. But the fox has an excuse for the double murder ready. “Helping yourself through the world is something very special; you can't keep yourself as sacred as in a monastery. "The wolf and the bear, Reineke continues, are again" the greatest at court. They steal and rob, the king loves them. ”But“ if a poor devil, like Reineke, takes some chicken, they all want to attack him right away. You hang out little thieves like that. The bowls are applied unevenly. "

Reineke and Grimbart meet Martin the monkey. He wants to go to Rome and is related to the two of them. Martin recommends Reineke that he should stick to his wife, the influential monkey zurückau , at court .

Ninth song

When Reineke sees the many assembled enemies, "he lacks the courage". But Grimbart “goes by his side. The stupid is not lucky, the bold seeks out danger and enjoys it. "Immediately Reineke protests what a good guy he is:" Oh, everyone would have written on his head how he thinks, and he sees it King! that would show that I am not lying. "

But the fox lies as if printed: the rabbit sat at the table in the burrow and started an argument - hit the fox's son "over the mouth" and bloody. And the crow murdered himself or else her own husband carried her to the afterlife. "Valid witnesses" should come forward, demands Reineke. Or, as is customary among “noble” men, he wants to face a duel. The rabbit and the husband of the crow have no witnesses. They are afraid of the duel and sneak "from court."

Undeterred by the cunning fox's talk, King Nobel describes Reineke as a traitor who "shamefully killed" his postman, Lampe. Since the ram Bellyn had claimed that he had made up the letters in the satchel with the fox, he lost his life as a punishment. But Reineke is amazed. “Lamp and bellyne dead? Who would believe that the ram would murder lamps and rob you of your treasures? ”Reineke starts again with his treasures, which he supposedly packed for the ram as cargo for the king. Nobel is so angry about the fox's speech that he fled from Judgment Day.

Again, Reineke has an advocate. This time he's female. The monkey zurückau goes in and out of Nobel's room. On the basis of the enclosed legal dispute between the Lindwurm and the man, she conclusively proves to the king how indispensable the cunning of the fox is at court. At the time, none of them had any advice - only Reineke found the solution during an inspection of the crime scene with both parties involved. The king says: “I will consider it. But fundamentally he remains a rogue. Because he turns out so cunningly, who is up to him? ”Nobel is forced to continue the judgment day. Reineke starts again from his treasure, "which the traitor Bellyn embezzled". The ape zurückau asks her relatives: "Show us how were the treasures?" The selfless Reineke wants to do his best, wants to travel around "through countries and empires to create the treasures."

Tenth song

But the cunning fox only describes the treasures that he allegedly wanted to have given the ram Bellyn for the king, and that "so dainty" that everyone believes him. Reineke "had woven the lie so artificially" that the king forgave him everything and set him free. Isegrim grindly points out to the king that Reineke is a “thief”, a “rogue” and “rogue”, “who invents vain lies”, who has committed several crimes. And that with the missing witnesses is no reason to let Reineke go, because “who dares to speak? He should not escape and we should fight. "

Eleventh chant

The wolf Isegrim, deeply offended by the progress of the legal proceedings, brings up further crimes of the fox. When the frost was freezing, Reineke had dishonored Gieremund's wife in the wolf's pond, and that was how it was. He taught Gieremund a new way of fishing. She just had to hang her tail in the water and wait for the fish to bite. But Gieremund was again unable to move, this time by freezing, "and what he was up to, I am not allowed to say," complains the wolf. "He came and unfortunately overpowered her." Reineke is allowed to answer the new allegation. The fox replies: “If you have the spirit of greed, you only live in worry.” Soon the wolf doesn't know a way out and Reineke finally gets his duel. The fox understands the seriousness of the situation: “It's about life and fortune!” With the help of his friends, especially the monkey zurückau, he prepares intensively for the duel.

Twelfth song

Wolf and fox enter the ring. Reineke has all sorts of nasty tricks up his sleeve. He blinds the enemy, even rips out one of his eyes. But in the end Isegrim's superior physical strength wins. He's getting the fox on his bed. Reineke has to beg for mercy. But the angry Isegrim does not give up. Reineke wins the unsporting tour. He pushes the "paw between the opponent's thighs", grabs "the most sensitive parts" and "cruelly pulls him so that he begins to spit blood". Despite the unknightly behavior, Reineke is awarded the victory. “Anyone” flatters the fox. King Nobel "lifts all punishments" and makes Reineke Fuchs "Chancellor of the Reich". Isegrim is carried out of the ring on a “stretcher, probably padded with hay”. "Many surgeons" come and treat the "twenty-six wounds". While the outcome of the fight is very momentous and sad, especially for Gieremund, “Reineken's wife” is delighted and for the foxes there are “fun days. They will live serenely and carefree.


The fabulous foxes are named by name : Reineke, Ermelyn, Reinhart, Rossel; Wolf : Isegrim , Gieremund; Leo : Nobel; Badger : Grimbart; Brown bear : brown; Cat : Hinze; Rabbit : lamp; Dogs : puppy Wackerlos, mastiff Ryn; Aries : Bellyn; Monkeys : Martin, zurückau, Moneke; Crane : Lütke; Panther : Lupardus; Chickens : Henning, Kantart, Kreyant, Kratzfuß; Crows : Merkenau, Scharfenebbe; Donkey Boldewyn; Goats Metke, Hermen; Beaver bokert; Stork Bartolt; Jay Markart; Duck Tybbke; Goose alheid; Raven picking bag. In addition, as a fable animals Eichhorn , weasel , marten , rabbit , boar , ermine , ox , horse , deer , roe deer , ... mentioned. In addition, there is also a human society, for example the farmer Rusteviel and Jutte, the pastor's cook.

Goethe's sources

see Reineke Fuchs



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Search term: Reinecke Fuchs Goethe: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Retrieved December 14, 2016 .
  2. ^ Michael Mandelartz, Meiji University, Faculty of Arts and Letters Department of German Literature: goethe_bibliographie. Meiji University, Tokyo, accessed December 14, 2016 .
  3. ^ Reinecke Fuchs. In twelve songs . Berlin, 1794 (= Goethe's Neue Schriften , Vol. 2). ( Digitized and full text in the German text archive )
  4. Hans-Wolf Jäger: Afterword . In: Reineke Fuchs. In twelve songs . Reclam, Stuttgart 2016, p. 179-181 .