The Fox and the Wolf
If the doing this occasion thee trouble, thou knowest that the true friend endureth for his own true friend the severest labour, and will suffer destruction in obtaining his deliverance; and it hath been said, ‘An affectionate friend is even better than a brother.’ If thou procure means for my escape, I will collect for thee such things as shall be a store for thee against the time of want, and then I will teach thee extraordinary stratagems by which thou shalt make the plenteous vineyards accessible, and shalt strip the fruitful trees: so be happy and cheerful.” But the fox said, laughing as he spoke, “How excellent is that which the learned have said of him who is excessively ignorant like thee!” “And what have the learned said?” asked the wolf. The fox answered, “The learned have observed that the rude in body and in disposition is far from intelligence, and nigh unto ignorance; for thine assertion, O perfidious idiot! that the true friend undergoeth trouble for the deliverance of his own true friend is just as thou hast said; but acquaint me, with thine ignorance and thy paucity of sense, how I should bear sincere friendship towards thee with thy treachery. Hast thou considered me a true friend unto thee when I am an enemy who rejoiceth in thy misfortune? These words are more severe than the piercing of arrows, if thou understand. And as to thy saying that thou wilt give me such things as will be a store for me against the time of want, and will teach me stratagems by which I shall obtain access to the plenteous vineyards and strip the fruitful trees—how is it, O guileful traitor! that thou knowest not a stratagem by means of which to save thyself from destruction? How far, then, art thou from profiting thyself, and how far am I from receiving thine advice? If thou know of stratagems, employ them to save thyself from this predicament from which I pray God to make thine escape far distant. See, then, O idiot! if thou know any stratagem, and save thyself by its means from slaughter, before thou lavish instruction upon another.