ONE moonlight night a Fox was prowling about a farmer’s hen-coop, and saw a Cock roosting high up beyond his reach. “Good news, good news!” he cried.
“Why, what is that?” said the Cock.
“King Lion has declared a universal truce. No beast may hurt a bird henceforth, but all shall dwell together in brotherly friendship.”
“Why, that is good news,” said the Cock; “and there I see some one coming, with whom we can share the good tidings.” And so saying he craned his neck forward and looked afar off.
“What is it you see?” said the Fox.
“It is only my master’s Dog that is coming towards us. What, going so soon?” he continued, as the Fox began to turn away as soon as he had heard the news. “Will you not stop and congratulate the Dog on the reign of universal peace?”
“I would gladly do so,” said the Fox, “but I fear he may not have heard of King Lion’s decree.”
Cunning often outwits itself.
Inserted among a selection from Poggio's Facetiae by Stainhöwel, who derived it from Romulus, iv. 18, so that it was probably once extant in Phædrus. A similar fable occurs as the Kukuta Jātaka which is figured on the Buddhist Stupa of Bharhut. I have reproduced the figure in my History, p. 76, and suggest there that the medieval form represents the original of the Jātaka better than that occurring in the present text, from considerations derived from this illustration.
All the preceding fables occur in the Stainhöwel, and so in Caxton's Æsop. The remainder have come into the popular Æsops from various sources, some of which are by no means easy to trace.
Fox, the Cock, and the Dog, The
Fables of Aesop, The
Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Macmillan & Co.
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ATU 62: Peace among the Animals--The Fox and the Rooster