The Fox and the Wolf
“I must now,” he continued, “hasten thy slaughter, before thou beholdest mine.” So the fox said within himself, “I have fallen into the snare with this tyrant, and my present case requireth the employment of artifice and frauds. It hath been said that the woman maketh her ornaments for the day of festivity; and, in a proverb, ‘I have not reserved thee, O my tear, but for the time of my difficulty!’ and if I employ not some stratagem in the affair of this tyrannical wild beast, I perish inevitably. How good is the saying of the poet—
“‘Support thyself by guile; for thou livest in an age whose sons are like the lions of the forest; And brandish around the spear of artifice, that the mill of subsistence may revolve; And pluck the fruits; or if they be beyond thy reach, then content thyself with herbage.’”
He then said to the wolf, “Hasten not to kill me, lest thou repent, O courageous wild beast, endowed with might and excessive fortitude! If thou delay, and consider what I am about to tell thee, thou wilt know the desire that I formed; and if thou hasten to kill me, there will be no profit to thee in thy doing so, but we shall die here together.” So the wolf said, “O thou wily deceiver! how is it that thou hopest to effect my safety and thine own, that thou askest me to give thee a delay? Acquaint me with the desire that thou formedst.” The fox replied, “As to the desire that I formed, it was such as requireth thee to recompense me for it well, since, when I heard thy promises, and thy confession of thy past conduct, and thy regret at not having before repented and done good; and when I heard thy vows to abstain from injurious conduct to thy companions and others, and to relinquish the eating of the grapes and all other fruits, and to impose upon thyself the obligation of humility, and to clip thy claws and break thy dog-teeth, and to wear wool and offer sacrifice to God (whose name be exalted!) if He delivered thee from thy present state, I was affected with compassion for thee, though I was before longing for thy destruction.