Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales

Wise Women: "Mr. Fox" - Be Bold, Be Bold

May 24, 2024 Autumn Woods Season 5 Episode 4
Wise Women: "Mr. Fox" - Be Bold, Be Bold
Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales
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Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales
Wise Women: "Mr. Fox" - Be Bold, Be Bold
May 24, 2024 Season 5 Episode 4
Autumn Woods

Not everyone is what they seem, and often, the Holy Spirit will use wisdom and discernment to tell you that loud and clear. Plunge into the dark forest with Lady Mary as she boldly searches for answers about her mysterious fiance, Mr. Fox, whose secrets require our heroine to be as cunning as he is. Can Lady Mary boldly and wisely confront evil to rescue herself and others from disaster?

**PG For discussion of thematic violence**

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Not everyone is what they seem, and often, the Holy Spirit will use wisdom and discernment to tell you that loud and clear. Plunge into the dark forest with Lady Mary as she boldly searches for answers about her mysterious fiance, Mr. Fox, whose secrets require our heroine to be as cunning as he is. Can Lady Mary boldly and wisely confront evil to rescue herself and others from disaster?

**PG For discussion of thematic violence**

Love this story? Let Autumn know!

Support the Show.

Wise Women: Episode 4

“Mr. Fox”: Be Bold, Be Bold

Welcome to Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales ™. I’m your host, Autumn Woods, and I’m so excited you’re here. We’re continuing our adventures in Wise Women, stories of women who wield their wisdom against adversity. Women who are smart, discerning, creative, cunning, and skilled. Women who use those gifts and talents in a godly way to guard themselves and others against evil. Our next story, Mr. Fox, may sound familiar because it’s the original Bluebeard story. Shakespeare quoted from Mr. Fox in “Much Ado About Nothing,” which was written in the late 1500’s before being published in 1623. So, Mr. Fox and its brave, wise heroine have been around a long time. Lady Mary is very active, like the heroine of “Fitcher’s Bird,” and she is an excellent example of how boldness, God-given intuition, discernment, and wisdom can save you and everyone coming after you from destruction. There is a brief scene of gory violence in this one, so if that’s not your thing, go back a few episodes to “The Forest Bride” for something more light-hearted.


If you’re good to hang on with me, let’s get lost, as we read the story of (Mr. Fox).


The End.


As brutal as that ending may seem, we need that sometimes. We need to know that the enemy of our soul will be dispatched at the end of all things and that justice and restoration will take place. God promises these things to those who endure to the end, and He always keeps His promises. Don’t wander away from the campfire. We’re about to shed some light on the incredible treasure hidden in this story. 


We begin, as we rarely do, with a socialite. Lady Mary is like Little Red Riding Hood, young, beautiful, untested in life, and surrounded by people who adore her. But she’s not an airhead. She asks good questions and has a natural curiosity that provokes her to investigate the things she cares about. And right now, what she cares about most, is the mysterious Mr. Fox. No subtlety at all about that very Dickensian name! Let’s go ahead and jump on that for a minute. I’m sure there are some very sweet foxes out there in real life, but right now, we’re concerned with tropes and symbols. 


Foxes in fairy tales are usually crafty, clever, distracting, and destructive. They’re not painted much differently in the Bible. In Song of Solomon 2:15, the king writes, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” The foxes wrecking the healthy vineyards are symbolic of the small things that can destroy a good relationship with God or a spouse, or the good fruit of decent labor before it can be harvested. Mr. Fox himself is a destroyer of women in their prime. Rather than marrying women to love them and help them thrive, he lures them to his lair to kill them. Samson in the book of Judges tied burning torches to pairs of foxes and set them loose in the Philistines’ grain fields to take revenge on them. Jesus referred to King Herod as a fox when some Pharisees warned the Messiah that the sneaking, scheming king wanted to kill Him. In Ezekiel 13:4, false prophets are compared to foxes who scavenge among the ruins to catch what comes to hand, profiting from destruction and doing nothing to rebuild. Mr. Fox absolutely takes advantage of whoever gets close enough to fall into his trap. Like his namesake, he hunts and kills alone and dwells in a hole—ahem, stronghold—hidden away from prying eyes so that he can carry out his dastardly deeds undisturbed. He is clearly the Satan figure in our story. 


We as readers and listeners are meant to respond immediately to the red flag that is Mr. Fox’s name and all the connotations it brings to mind, but the people in the story are not as clever as we are. No one seems to know much about Mr. Fox other than that he’s dashing, and must be rich and very brave because everyone says so. Mary meets Mr. Fox at her father’s country house. This is the only mention of her father in the entire piece. We generally hear only of her brothers the rest of the time, intimating that they may be her primary guardians. In which case, it’s very strange that even after Lady Mary and Mr. Fox become engaged, neither she nor her brothers are invited to visit Mr. Fox’s castle. There are several things wrong with this behavior. It’s controlling, isolating, and shady because no one is able to verify if Mr. Fox really is who everyone believes him to be. Lady Mary doesn’t know what kind of house she’s supposed to be mistress of, and no one knows how to find her once Mr. Fox does take her there. 


Uneasy about the situation, Lady Mary proceeds to do a brave thing that any one of her guardians should have had the sense to do. She covertly ventures out into the dark woods to find the Fox’s lair herself. Often, the Holy Spirit will give you an uneasy feeling when something is not right for you or someone else. Sometimes this is conviction to help you turn from destruction right away, and sometimes, it’s meant to send you on a treasure hunt to find out the truth. In addition to praying about the situation to discover God’s will in it, it’s good to investigate what bothers you to get a better understanding of how you should be operating in relation to it. God says in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” While this is directly referring to knowledge of God, it holds true for anything and anyone you’re bonding with. You need to know what exactly it is you’re saying yes to when you’re investing your heart, because you don’t want to be surprised by any snares the enemy has attached to the object of your desire. Proverbs 19:2 says, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” Mary is wise enough to know that she should not rush into this marriage covenant based solely on her desire for Mr. Fox and the dreamy assumption that everything will be wonderful once they’re together. She needs concrete proof of this man’s character and to know what kind of life she’s signing up for. “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge,” Proverbs 18:15. This isn’t Eve reaching out for forbidden knowledge. This is a woman being led by the Holy Spirit to uncover the workings of darkness and expose them. 


The interesting thing about Lady Mary’s harrowing adventure, is that she is graced with an opportunity to experience the truth without having to pay for it. Like Gideon, she’s able to covertly invade the enemy’s camp, return armed with the truth, and use it to rescue herself and others from destruction.


When she reaches Mr. Fox’s castle, Lady Mary finds that it is a stronghold surrounded by a moat. She encounters three entrances, each one marking a concentric circle of Mr. Fox’s nefarious practices. Remember that three is a number of completion. The progressively sinister messages she finds inscribed on the entrances of the gate, the house, and the bloody chamber represent the complete stripping away of the authority, autonomy, and life of each woman who falls into the clutches of Mr. Fox. In fact, they symbolize the trajectory of bondage a person can get into if they say “yes” to the enemy’s temptations and recklessly give in to their own desires. The main idea we find in the inscriptions is that to survive in this realm, you must exist under the enemy’s terms, or not at all. 


The first thing our heroine encounters on Mr. Fox’s property is a gate. Gates are entrances, for good or for evil. In Biblical times, the city gates were places where business transactions, judgements, and agreements were made. The message above this gate reads, “Be Bold.” This intimates that anyone under Mr. Fox’s authority is meant to be bold in order to pass into his domain. Well, Lady Mary is already bold, no one has to tell her to be. But this harkens back to the garden lie. In serpent form, Satan told Eve that by eating of the forbidden fruit, she would be like God, knowing good and evil. But Eve was already like God, having been made in His image and given a portion of authority by Him to co-rule the earth with Adam. By attempting to access forbidden knowledge and make themselves like God, Adam and Eve were bent into the twisted image of Satan, rebelling against God and unwittingly surrendering the authority He had given them to the enemy of their souls. 


The lie that you can be free and unstoppable by making yourself your own god is heavily in operation today. The enemy will pounce on opportunities to make you believe that you can be your true and complete self by joining in the practices of darkness and building an identity apart from God, as Mr. Fox has built his sequestered, sinister fortress to carry out his despicable deeds. The compromising may start small. Most people, even people who love the Lord, have rooms in their hearts that they keep sealed off from Him. Maybe you don’t mean to, but you do it because you think He’s not interested in those things or He won’t satisfy the deepest longings of your heart if you turn them over to Him. So, you make deals. You compromise. You trade yourself and your integrity like commodities. You play with practices from the kingdom of darkness in hopes that you can get everything you want without consequences, unaware that you’re heading for a great fall.  


The truth is that surrendering to God is the only way to become your truest, freest self. Yahweh put pieces of Himself in you to reflect as you live your life and draw closer to Him. When you’re focused on God, you begin to mirror His character, to naturally act and speak and think the way you were always meant to. You’re not lobotomized. You are fully yourself, unique personality, free will, and all. It doesn’t mean life is easy, but it does mean you feel less of a need to pretend and stuff yourself into a mold you weren’t created to fit into. Lady Mary doesn’t need Mr. Fox’s permission to be her brave, bold, inquisitive self. Nor does she need to dim her light so that it shines the way he wants it to. If she does, she’ll lose everything.


You don’t need to bend yourself into the enemy’s idea of who you should be to be eternally successful. The world system he runs is not the end all and be all, although he’d have you believe it because that’s all we see with our natural eyes. The authority you’re given from God may not look like it rivals the pull of any position or industry in the world, but it comes from His word, and while heaven and earth will pass away, God’s word will never pass away. Jesus says, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19). The accuser knows that you legally have a license to shut down his operations in the earth using the word of God to pray the will of God on earth as it is in Heaven. Doesn’t it make sense that he and the kingdom of darkness would be hard at work churning out propaganda to make you believe that you don’t have that right? To encourage you to separate yourself from God, come under enemy authority, and unwittingly sell your birthright for a bowl of stew? 


Fortunately, Lady Mary is given the opportunity to learn that if goes through with this marriage, she will be cut off from everyone she holds dear, from the woman she is meant to be, from true freedom, and from life itself. Slipping through the open gate, Lady Mary approaches the formidable house. Above the doorway is written, “Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold.” This is the first obvious hint that there’s a catch to being her bold self under Mr. Fox’s roof. This monstrous man domineers the women he brings back to his castle. They can be bold until their boldness crosses his line, and then, they’re fair game for him to abuse and torture. There usually comes a point in a life of compromise when you realize what it’s costing you to live the way you want to live. The people, entities, and practices you’ve surrendered your authority to in your quest for freedom and happiness now require you to diminish yourself and become something that you’re not on the off chance that you’ll be given more room to get what you’re after. In fact, you may find that you’re not living the way you wanted to at all, and you begin to lose your autonomy and humanity. You can’t even enjoy the privileges you’ve been given for trading in your authority because you’re living in fear of what will happen next. 

This existence is less than the abundant life that God wants to give you. God does require you to humble yourself, but He doesn’t abuse you for it. “‘God resists the proud,
 But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7). A humble person fears the Lord without being afraid of Him, and in turn, God raises that person up out of love. A proud master like Satan or Mr. Fox raises people up in order to destroy them for selfish gain, as Lady Mary is about to discover.  

Determined to see her journey through to the end, our brave heroine enters the house climbs the stairs, slips through the gallery, and arrives at the outside of a door with an inscription above it reading, “Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold, Lest That Your Heart’s Blood Should Run Cold.” Opening the door, she is horrified to discover her fiancé’s dreadful secret. The room is full of the corpses of the women who have come before her in various states of decay. She quickly understands that Mr. Fox is a murderous wretch who kills women for sport. He is like “[our] adversary, the devil, [who] prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). 


The upper story in a house usually represents a person’s thought life. We know that this upper room demonstrates Mr. Fox’s depravity, but the other message we can glean from it is that the abuses the women endured at his expense drove them deep into themselves. In their isolation, they retreated internally, disgusted with themselves for falling into his clutches, and believing there was no way out. They no longer saw themselves as vibrant human women, but as dispensable, objectified bodies. This line of thinking would make them easy prey for his diabolical obsession because they would be too defeated inside to fight for their lives. Even if they did try to fight back, they would likely be dispatched quickly because they had cut themselves off from any help from outside world to be in his.


In the same way, Satan and his compatriots set out to annihilate people through the tactics of deception, isolation, immobilization, and destruction. Like Mr. Fox, Satan hates women and is bent on our eradication from this earth. He hates men, too, but he’s got a special animosity for us because we partner with God to create and or foster life and community. We have the capability to train those in our charge to love God, hate the accuser, and use godly authority to take territory back from him in the spirit for the Kingdom of God. Through our sensitivity to the spirit realm, we are able to expose Satan’s works for what they are. In retaliation, the enemy seeks to pervert God’s original design for us and make us lose our credibility. Through the systems of this world, femininity is turned into a curse, a game, a costume, a liability. Brothers, fathers, and spouses are pitted against us when we should be working with them in unity under God and against the devil. With enough twisting, a man can turn into a monster like Mr. Fox, who, instead of protecting the ones in his charge, objectifies, uses, and discards them to gain power. “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).  This is very true of Mr. Fox, who, before his shocked fiancée’s very eyes, kidnaps a woman, brutally chops off her hand to steal her ring, and then drags her upstairs to the bloody chamber to kill and thoroughly destroy her. Fortunately, in his hurry, he doesn’t see Lady Mary, who has hidden herself behind what we can assume to be a wine cask, symbolic of being protected by the blood covenant of Jesus Christ. Throughout the Psalms, David talks about the Lord hiding him in the shadow of His wings to rescue him from bloodthirsty men. Our heroine was able to experience a little bit of that just now. 


The incident with the ring is, among other things, a graphic symbol for literal and metaphorical rape. Mr. Fox sees something valuable that does not belong to him, and will not yield to him, so he violently takes it from its owner, damaging her in the process. Her body’s bold resistance to his efforts by holding onto the ring is too bold for his liking. After he maims her, he doesn’t even go after the ring—he’s too eager to drag the poor woman upstairs to end her completely. Just as Mr. Fox was attracted to the ring, the enemy of our soul sees the splendor of God in us—even in the ones who haven’t made Him Lord yet—because mankind was created in God’s image. Satan desired to have God’s power and authority, but could not take it. So, instead, he takes pleasure in destroying the creation that mirrors the aspects of the Being he could not conquer. 


Knowing that you are born with a target on your back can be frightening, but “God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind” (1 Timothy 1:7).  As an ezer kenegdo, woman was created to reflect the strong rescuing aspect of God. Women, nearly every time that first part of your name comes up in scripture, it’s referring to God saving the day at the most frightening, difficult, and hopeless-looking times. Do not be afraid. Remember that you belong to God, and confront evil with boldness.  


The terrifying displays she’s witnessed should be enough to immobilize Lady Mary in her hiding place and seal her doom, but she finds the strength to move. The poor woman’s hand falling into her lap, reaching out to her for help spurs her on. This horrible experience could cause her to lose faith in all men, but it doesn’t. She is wise enough to know that had her family been aware of this, they never would have let her make this match. She’s on her own now as she flees the property, but there’s an army waiting to have her back when she gets home. That’s something we need to remember as well. While all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, not every man—and not every woman—is a depraved monster. Use discernment to recognize who is a true brother or sister waiting to come to your aid if you only ask them. 


Resolved that neither she nor any other woman will be victimized by Mr. Fox, Lady Mary devises a plan to publicly expose him for the sick psycho he is. She knows the smart thing to do is not to go in guns blazing. She’ll have to be as cunning a fox as he is. Like Esther as she dealt with Haman, she needs him to confirm his guilt publicly so that her family can readily acknowledge the truth and enact justice. She goes through with the pre-wedding breakfast, using the opportunity to Fiddler-on-the-Roof her way through yesterday’s events, disguising her sobering reconnaissance mission as a harrowing dream, all the while revealing the true nature of the nightmarish man to her shocked family. Mr. Fox began the morning oozing slimy charm. Now, rage flashes across his face as with every incriminating word Lady Mary speaks. Just as he’s about to deny the entire thing, Lady Mary whips out the cold dead hand and points it at him accusingly as proof. Instantly, her family and friends spring into action to dispatch Mr. Fox, as quickly as Haman was hung on his own gallows after Esther’s testimony. 


Ephesians 5:11 says, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Because of Lady Mary’s boldness and wisdom, she was able to rescue the women in her community from a murderous madman. She knew that if more people knew what was going on, his reign of terror would come to an end. And the same is true for us. Don’t play with the workings of darkness. Expose them for what they are. If you know something is a device of the enemy, seek God for strategies to pray against it and share the information on that threat with the people around you who will listen so that they can take action against it, too. We are not to be ignorant of the devil’s schemes, including the lie that says you can’t do anything to help your little corner of the world. Lady Mary wasn’t trained to physically defend herself, but she knew how to get help from people who were. We may be dust, but we serve the God of angel armies, Jehovah Sabaoth, and there are more with us than there are with the enemy. Speak the truth of God’s word in love and wisdom, and help rescue others from darkness and destruction.


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Mr. Fox
Analysis Intro