The Fox and the Wolf
” But the fox replied, “The sages have said, ‘Take not as thy brother the ignorant and wicked, for he will disgrace thee, and not honour thee; and take not as thy brother the liar, for if good proceed from thee he will hide it, and if evil proceed from thee he will publish it!’ And the sages have said, ‘For everything there is a stratagem, excepting death; and everything may be rectified excepting the corruption of the very essence; and everything may be repelled excepting destiny.’ And as to the recompense which thou assertest that I deserve of thee, I compare thee, in thy recompensing, to the serpent fleeing from the Háwee, when a man saw her in a state of terror, and said to her, ‘What is the matter with thee, O serpent?’ She answered, ‘I have fled from the Háwee, for he seeketh me; and if thou deliver me from him, and conceal me with thee, I will recompense thee well, and do thee every kindness.’ So the man took her, to obtain the reward, and eager for the recompense, and put her into his pocket; and when the Háwee had passed and gone his way, and what she feared had quitted her, the man said to her, ‘Where is the recompense, for I have saved thee from that which thou fearedst and didst dread?’ The serpent answered him, ‘Tell me in what member I shall bite thee; for thou knowest that we exceed not this recompense.’ She then inflicted upon him a bite, from which he died. And thee, O idiot!” continued the fox, “I compare to that serpent with that man. Hast thou not heard the saying of the poet?—
“‘Trust not a person in whose heart thou hast made anger to dwell, nor think his anger hath ceased. Verily, the vipers, though smooth to the touch, show graceful motions, and hide mortal poison.’”
“O eloquent and comely-faced animal!” rejoined the wolf, “be not ignorant of my condition, and of the fear with which mankind regard me. Thou knowest that I assault the strong places, and strip the vines. Do, therefore, what I have commanded thee, and attend to me as the slave attendeth to his master.