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The Fox and the Turkeys

(Recueil 3, Livre 12, Fable 18)

 

 

Against a robber fox, a tree

Some turkeys served as citadel.

That villain, much provoked to see

Each standing there as sentinel,

Cried out, "Such witless birds

At me stretch out their necks, and gobble!

No, by the powers! I'll give them trouble."

He verified his words.

The moon, that shined full on the oak,

Seemed then to help the turkey folk.

But fox, in arts of siege well versed,

Ransacked his bag of tricks accursed.

He feigned himself about to climb;

Walked on his hinder legs sublime;

Then death most aptly counterfeited,

And seemed anon resuscitated.

A practiser of wizard arts

Could not have filled so many parts.

In moonlight he contrived to raise

His tail, and make it seem a blaze:

And countless other tricks like that.

Meanwhile, no turkey slept or sat.

Their constant vigilance at length,

As hoped the fox, wore out their strength.

Bewildered by the rigs he run,

They lost their balance one by one.

As Renard slew, he laid aside,

Till nearly half of them had died;

Then proudly to his larder bore,

And laid them up, an ample store.

A foe, by being over-heeded,

Has often in his plan succeeded.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 12, Fable 18

 

 

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