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The Gruesome Origins of Classic Fairytales: The Fox & The Hound

While this story does not have a gruesome origin story per say it still has a story that is different than the actual Disney version. The 24th Disney animated feature film, the film tells the story of the unlikely friendship between a red fox named Tod and a hound dog named Copper. The two friends struggle to preserve their friendship despite their emerging instincts and the surrounding social pressures demanding them to be adversaries, as they are enemies by nature.

After a young red fox is orphaned, Big Mama the owl and her friends Dinky the finch and Boomer the woodpecker, arrange for him to be adopted by kindly farmer Widow Tweed, who names him Tod. Meanwhile, her neighbor, hunter Amos Slade, brings home a young hound puppy named Copper and introduces him to his hunting dog Chief. One day, Tod and Copper meet and become best friends, pledging eternal friendship. Amos grows frustrated at Copper for constantly wandering off to play, and places him on a leash. While playing with Copper outside his barrel, Tod awakens Chief. Amos and Chief chase Tod until they are stopped by Tweed. After an argument, Amos threatens to kill Tod if he trespasses on his farm again. Hunting season comes and Amos takes his dogs into the wilderness for the interim. Meanwhile, Big Mama, Dinky, and Boomer attempt to explain to Tod that Copper will become his enemy. However, Tod naively insists that he and Copper will remain friends forever.

The following spring, Tod and Copper reach adulthood. Copper returns as an expert hunting dog, who is expected to track down foxes. During the night, Tod sneaks over to visit Copper. Their conversation awakens Chief, who alerts Amos. A chase ensues and Copper catches Tod, but lets Tod go while diverting Amos. Chief catches Tod as he attempts an escape on a railroad track, but an oncoming train strikes Chief, resulting in him falling into the river below and breaking his leg. Enraged by this, Copper and Amos blame Tod for the accident and vow vengeance. Realizing Tod is no longer safe with her, Tweed leaves him at a game reserve. After a disastrous night on his own in the woods, Big Mama introduces Tod to Vixey, a female fox who helps Tod adapt to life in the forest. Meanwhile, Amos and Copper trespass into the reserve and hunt the two foxes. The chase climaxes when Amos and Copper inadvertently provoke an attack from a large, savage bear. Amos trips and falls into one of his own traps, dropping his gun slightly out of reach. Copper fights the bear but is almost killed by the vicious animal. Tod battles the bear until they both fall down a waterfall. As Copper approaches Tod as he lies in the lake below, Amos appears, ready to shoot Tod. Copper positions himself in front of Tod to prevent Amos from shooting him, refusing to move away. Amos lowers his gun and leaves with Copper. Tod and Copper share one last smile before parting. At home, Tweed nurses Amos back to health while the dogs rest. Copper, before going to sleep, smiles as he remembers the day when he first met Tod. On a hill, Vixey joins Tod as they look down on Tod's former home and Copper's.


Daniel P. Mannix Version

The Fox and The Hound is a 1967 novel written by American novelist Daniel P. Mannix and illustrated by John Schoenherr. As preparation for writing the novel, Mannix studied foxes, both tame and wild, a wide variety of hunting techniques, and the ways hounds appear to track foxes, seeking to ensure his characters acted realistically.

Copper, a bloodhound crossbred, was once the favorite among his Master's pack of hunting dogs in a rural country area. However, he now feels threatened by Chief, a younger, faster Black and Tan Coonhound. Copper hates Chief, who is taking Copper's place as pack leader. During a bear hunt, Chief protects the Master when the bear turns on him, while Copper is too afraid of the bear to confront him. The Master ignores Copper to heap praise on Chief and Copper's hatred and jealousy grow.

Tod is a red fox kit, raised as a pet by one of the human hunters who killed his mother and littermates. Tod initially enjoys his life, but when he reaches sexual maturity he returns to the wild. During his first year, he begins establishing his territory, and learns evasion techniques from being hunted by local farm dogs. One day, he comes across the Master's house and discovers that his presence sends the chained pack of dogs into a frustrated frenzy. He begins to delight in taunting them, until one day when Chief breaks his chain and chases him. The Master sees the dog escape and follows with Copper. As Chief skillfully trails the fox, Tod flees along a railroad track while a train is approaching, waiting to jump to safety until the last minute. Chief is killed by the train.

With Chief buried and Master crying over a dead dog he trains Copper to ignore all foxes except for Tod. Over the span of the two animals' lives, man and dog hunt the fox, the Master using over a dozen hunting techniques in his quest for revenge. With each hunt, both dog and fox learn new tricks and methods to outsmart each other, Tod always escaping in the end. Tod mates with an older, experienced vixen who gives birth to a litter of kits. Before they are grown, the Master finds the den and gasses the kits to death. That winter, the Master sets out leg hold traps, which Tod carefully learns how to spring, but the vixen is caught and killed. In January, Tod takes a new mate, with whom he has another litter of kits. The Master uses a "still hunting" technique, in which he sits very quietly in the wood while playing a rabbit call to draw out the foxes. With this method, he kills the kits; then by using the sound of a wounded fox kit, he is also able to draw out and kill Tod's mate.

As the years pass, the rural area gives way to a more urbanized setting. New buildings and highways spring up, more housing developments are built, and the farmers are pushed out. Though much of the wildlife has left and hunting grows increasingly difficult, Tod stays because it is his home range. The other foxes that remain become unhealthy scavengers, and their natures change—life-bonds with their mates are replaced by promiscuity, couples going their separate ways once the mating act is over. The Master has lost most of his own land, and the only dog he owns now is Copper. Each winter they still hunt Tod, and in an odd way he looks forward to it as the only aspect of his old life that remains.

The Master spends most of his time drinking alcohol, and people begin trying to convince him to move into a nursing home, where no dogs are allowed. One summer, an outbreak of rabies spreads through the fox population. After one infected fox attacks a group of human children, the same people approach the Master and ask his help in killing the foxes. He uses traps and poison to try to kill as many foxes as possible; however, the poison also kills domestic animals. After a human child dies from eating it, the humans remove all of the poison, then the Master organizes a hunt in which large numbers of people line up and walk straight into the woods, flushing out foxes to be shot. The aging Tod escapes all three events, as well as an attempt at coursing him with greyhounds.

One morning, after Tod's escape from the greyhounds, the Master sends Copper on the hunt. After he picks up the fox's trail, Copper relentlessly pursues him throughout the day and into the next morning. Tod finally drops dead of exhaustion, and Copper collapses on top of him, close to death himself. The Master nurses Copper back to health, and both enjoy their new popularity, but after a few months the excitement over Copper's accomplishment dies down. The Master is left alone again, and returns to drinking. He is once again asked to consider living in a nursing home, and this time he agrees. Crying, he takes his shotgun from the wall, leads Copper outside, and pets him gently before ordering him to lie down. He covers the dog's eyes as Copper licks his hand trustingly.


Walt Disney Productions purchased the film rights for the novel when it won the Dutton Animal Book Award in 1967, though they did not begin production on an adaptation until 1977. Heavily modified from the source material, Disney's The Fox and The Hound was released in theaters in July 1981 and became a financial success.



I hope you enjoyed today's post. We only have a few more weeks of this series, so I want to know what else do you guys want to see? I want to be able to write posts that you will want to read so please give me ideas.


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