Aesop's Fables (Joseph Jacobs)
Jacobs 73. The Lion, the Fox, and the Beasts (Perry
The Lion once gave out that he was sick unto death and summoned the animals
to come and hear his last Will and Testament. So the Goat came to the
Lion's cave, and stopped there listening for a long time. Then a Sheep
went in, and before she came out a Calf came up to receive the last wishes
of the Lord of the Beasts. But soon the Lion seemed to recover, and came
to the mouth of his cave, and saw the Fox, who had been waiting outside
for some time. "Why do you not come to pay your respects to me?"
said the Lion to the Fox.
"I beg your Majesty's pardon," said the Fox, "but I noticed
the track of the animals that have already come to you; and while I see
many hoof-marks going in, I see none coming out. Till the animals that
have entered your cave come out again I prefer to remain in the open air."
It is easier to get into the enemy's toils than out again.
Fables of Aesop, by Joseph Jacobs with illustrations by
Richard Heighway (1894). The page images come from Google
Books. The digitized text comes from Project
Gutenberg. You can purchase this inexpensive Dover edition, The
Fables of Aesop by Joseph Jacobs from amazon.com.