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The Sick Lion and the Fox

(Recueil 1, Livre 6, Fable 14)



Sick in his den, we understand,

The king of beasts sent out command

That of his vassals every sort

Should send some deputies to court

With promise well to treat

Each deputy and suite;

On faith of lion, duly written,

None should be scratched, much less be bitten.

The royal will was executed,

And some from every tribe deputed;

The foxes, only, would not come.

One thus explained their choice of home:

"Of those who seek the court, we learn,

The tracks on the sand

Have one direction, and

Not one betokens a return.

This fact begetting some distrust,

His majesty at present must

Excuse us from his great levee.

His plighted word is good, no doubt;

But while how beasts get in we see,

We do not see how they get out."

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 6, Fable 14



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