Thursday, December 17, 2020



This 3.75 inch saucer depicts a scene from one of Aesop's Fables: "The Cock, the Hen and the Fox."

I have liked "Aesop's Fables" since I was a little girl and "The Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer since I was a teenager. So, I was delighted to find a small saucer from a child's tea service with a pattern that combined two of my favorite story tellers. 

The pattern shows a cock (rooster) and a hen perched high in a tree. There is a fox beneath the tree. The story is one of Aesop's Fables, but it is also told in the "Nun's Priest's Tale" in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." In Chaucer, the cock's favorite hen, Partelote, accuses him of cowardice because he is frightened by a bad dream. When a fox comes calling, the cock decides to show the hen that he is fearless, so he flies down to greet the fox. The fox flatters the cock by telling him he has the most beautiful voice. When the cock stretches his neck and closes his eyes to sing, the fox grabs him by the throat and runs off! Partelote and the other hens arouse the farmer and his wife, who give chase. However, the cock sees that they will never reach him in time. Reacting well under extreme pressure, the cock flatters the fox by suggesting that he should stop and tell the farmer and his wife that they will never catch him. The vain fox turns and opens his mouth to speak, and the cock flies out! The moral of this fable is vanity blinds one to danger and stupidity!

The little saucer illustrates a fable I did not remember.  I have read "The Nun's Priest's Tale," but I have forgotten the details of the story (I read it when I was 19). One of my favorite things about the study of transferware patterns is what I learn from them, or what I relearn. Vanity certainly can blind one to danger and stupidity!


Here's a close-up of the pattern. Can you see the hen?