Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox Summary and Analysis of Chapters 13-18


13. Bunce's Giant Storehouse

Badger tagged along with Mr. Fox and the three Small Foxes as they made their way to the next farm. They dug together until they were directly beneath the storehouse where Bunce kept his dead ducks and geese. They broke in just as before by pushing on one of the wooden floorboards. They saw thousands of ducks and geese sitting on shelves along with ham and bacon hanging from the ceiling. Mr. Fox carefully selected what they would take while the other animals drooled with hunger. He chose a bit of each type of meat. One of the Small Foxes reminded him that some of the animals may only eat vegetables and suggested that they also take some carrots. Finally, they stole some push-carts to transport their spoils. Mr. Fox sent two of the Small Foxes back to Mrs. Fox with the loot and asked that they inform her about all the guests coming to the feast.

14. Badger Has His Doubts

Mr. Fox and the remaining Small Fox were excited to go to the final farm, Bean's. However, Badger stopped them to ask if their stealing was wrong. Mr. Fox reminded Badger that the farmers have been trying to kill him and his family, while all he wanted was enough food to feed those affected by the stake-out. Badger was calmed by Mr. Fox's explanation and the three animals kept digging. After a few minutes, they hit the stone wall of an underground room.

15. Bean's Secret Cider Cellar

Mr. Fox pulled a brick out of the hard wall in front of them and the small head of Rat popped out. Rat told them to go away, but Mr. Fox threatened to eat him and Rat retreated into the room. Badger and the Small Fox were confused when they didn't see any turkeys, but Mr. Fox explained that they already have food - they're in this room for drinks. Now, Badger and the Small Fox looked harder and saw that the room was lined with shelves and shelves of alcoholic cider. The Smallest Fox grabbed a jar and drank from it, exclaiming at how good it was. Mr. Fox and Badger sipped next from the jar, also amazed by its taste and strength. Suddenly, the animals heard human voices, a door being opened, and footsteps.

16. The Woman

Mr. Fox, Badger, and the Smallest Fox hid behind jars as a woman came down into the cellar. The woman called up to Mrs. Bean, asking how many jars Mr. Bean would want that evening. Mrs. Bean said he would want two or three. The women discussed the stake-out, and Mrs. Bean complained that she wanted Mr. Fox's tail. The woman, whose name was Mabel, decided to take only two jars, which was lucky because taking a third would have revealed the animals' positions. As she left the cellar, she smelled the air and told Mrs. Bean that she thought there were rats down there. Mrs. Bean told her to put down more rat poison later. Once the woman was gone, Mr. Fox taunted rat about being poisoned soon and instructed Badger and the Smallest Fox to grab two jars of cider. On their way out, Rat yelled at them for being thieves.

17. The Great Feast

Mr. Fox, the Smallest Fox, and Badger ran back to where Mrs. Fox and the other Small Foxes were working on the feast. Mr. Fox sang a joyful rhyming song about his wife and Badger joined in with his own verse. When they arrived, they saw a huge table laden with food and 29 small animals seated around it. Mrs. Fox hugged Mr. Fox and apologized that they started the feast because everyone was so hungry. Mr. Fox, Badger, and the Smallest Fox sat down with everyone and started to eat ravenously. After a while, Badger made a toast to Mr. Fox. Mrs. Fox made one as well. After her, Mr. Fox himself stood up and made a short speech where he said that none of them would ever have to go outside again and risk being caught or shot because they would continue to steal food and feast while living in an underground village of sorts. At this idea, everyone cheered.

18. Still Waiting

Outside the hole, the three farmers sat waiting for Mr. Fox through the entire day of stealing and feasting. The farmers discussed how hungry the foxes must be. They seemed prepared to keep waiting until Mr. Fox appeared, leading the narrator to end by saying, "And so as far as I know, they are still waiting" (81).


In this section, doubt is directly cast twice on Mr. Fox's moral character. First, Mr. Fox fails to think about what the other burrowing animals invited to his feast eat; the Smallest Fox must suggest that they get carrots for them. Then, Badger asks Mr. Fox whether stealing from the farmers is wrong, but Mr. Fox convinces him that it is not as bad as what the farmers are doing, or attempting to do, to them. These moments show that Mr. Fox is perhaps the most clever character in the book, but he lacks the compassion that guides other characters' beliefs and actions.

One moment that a reader could see as further evidence of Mr. Fox's lack of compassion is when Badger must inform him about how his feud with the farmers has affected other animals in the area. Badger informs Mr. Fox and three of the Small Foxes that because the farmers have encircled the area and destroyed part of the hill, many other families of animals are starving. However, this could also be seen as part of Dahl's criticism of humans, symbolized by the antagonist farmer characters. These farmers do not realize the extent to which they impact the ecosystem near their farms through their use of digging machines and willingness to kill animals for sport.

The section in which Mr. Fox, the Smallest Fox, and Badger meet with Rat in Bean's Cider Cellar is interesting for the fact that much of Rat's character is designed to go over the heads of young children. Rat seems to be an alcoholic, or at least drunk at the time the other animals come to take some of Bean's cider. Dahl casts a negative light on drinking by having Rat's character attempt to block the main characters from their goal as well as depicting him as ugly and greedy, much like the farmers.

The scene that follows in the cellar is full of irony and suspense. Suspense is built by Mabel, a worker in the home of Farmer and Mrs. Bean, who must choose which and how many jars of cider to take upstairs while the animals hide behind some of them. The tension of the situation is furthered by the dramatic irony of Mabel talking to Mrs. Bean about Mr. Fox as he sits mere feet from her. In the end, it is Mabel's negative feelings toward Farmer Bean and his drinking habits that saves the animals from being caught.

The climax of the book comes when Mr. Fox, the Smallest Fox, and Badger return home and find everyone celebrating and feasting already. Dahl dwells on the imagery of plenty, reminding the reader of exactly which animals were present and describing (and showing through a large, two-page picture spread) all the foods that Mr. Fox was able to steal. This image of lavish revelry is juxtaposed with the short final chapter of the book in which the farmers sit in the rain, still waiting for Mr. Fox to come out due to hunger.