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Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)

83. A FOX AND A GOAT (Perry 9)

A Fox and a Goat went down by consent into a Well to drink, and when they had quench’d their Thirst, the Goat fell to hunting up and down which way to get back again. Oh! Says Reynard, Never trouble your Head how to get back, but leave that to me. Do but you raise your self upon your hinder-Legs with your fore-Feet close to the Wall, and then stretch out your Head; I can easily whip up to your Horns, and so out of the Well, and draw you after me. The Goat puts himself in a Posture immediately, as he was directed, gives the Fox a lift, and so out he springs: But Reynard’s Business was now only to make sport with his Companion, instead of helping him. Some hard Words the Goat gave him, but the Fox puts off all with a Jest. If you had but half so much Brain as Beard, says he, you would have bethought your self how to get up again before you went down.
THE MORAL. A wise Man will debate every thing pro and con before he comes to fix upon any Resolution. He leaves nothing to Chance more than needs must. There must be no Bantering out of Season.


L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir Roger L'Estrange. Aesop - Fables which is available at amazon.com.