(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“The Sad Fate of Mr. Fox,” the last of Uncle Remus’s tales in Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings (1880), marks the end of Mr. Fox, as well as the end of the book. It is, as Uncle Remus says, “de las’rower stumps, sho.” For this reason, Uncle Remus is more serious when the evening storytelling session begins, and he states at the beginning that Brer Fox dies in this tale.

The focus of the tale, however, is, as usual, Brer Rabbit. Hoping to share Brer Fox’s dinner, he tells Brer Fox that his wife is sick and his children are cold, but Brer Fox offers him only a piece of fire to take home. Frustrated, but not defeated, Brer Rabbit returns to Brer Fox under the pretense that the fire went out. When he asks the fox about the beef that he is cooking for dinner, the fox offers to show him where he, too, can get as much meat as he wants. The next morning, Brer Fox takes Brer Rabbit down by Miss Meadows’s place, where a man keeps a special cow. When called by name, “Bookay,” this cow will open her mouth and let the fox (and the rabbit) inside her body where they can cut away as much meat as they can carry.

Inside this magical cow, they begin to cut off pieces of beef, but Brer Fox warns Brer Rabbit not to cut the “haslett” (the edible viscera of an animal such as the heart and lungs). When Brer Rabbit hacks the haslett, the cow dies. Brer Rabbit hides in the gall, Brer Fox in the maul. The next morning, the owner of the cow, upset to discover his cow dead, cuts her open to see who or what killed her. Brer Rabbit jumps out of the gall and tells the man that the killer of the cow is hiding in the maul....

(The entire section is 676 words.)