Friday Fable: Abstemius’ (Sir Roger L'Estrange) “A Wolf and a Fox”*

Posted by jlubans on August 14, 2015

Caption: Illustration from Francis Barlow’s Aesop's Fables,1687.

“A Wolf that had a mind to take his ease, stor’d himself privately with Provisions, and so kept close a-while.
Why, how now Friend, says a Fox to him, we han’t seen you abroad at the Chase this many a Day!
Why truly, says the Wolf, I have gotten an Indisposition that keeps me much at home, and I hope I shall have your Prayers for my Recovery.
The Fox had a fetch in’t, (have a go at praying) and when he saw it would not fadge (result in bread); away goes he presently to a Shepherd, and tells him where he might surprize a Wolf, if he had a mind to’t.
The Shepherd follow’d his Directions, and destroy’d him.
The Fox immediately, as his next Heir, repairs to his Cell, and takes Possession of his Stores; but he had little Joy of the Purchase, for in a very short time, the same Shepherd did as much for the Fox, as he had done before for the Wolf.”

“THE MORAL. ‘Tis with Sharpers as ‘tis with Pikes, they prey upon their own kind; and ‘tis a pleasant Scene enough, when Thieves fall out among themselves, to see the cutting of one Diamond with another.”

And, so it can be at work, there is no honor among “Sharpers” Dodgers, Finaglers, Scammers, Tricksters and other office denizens. So, if you’ve been bullied by the boss, take some solace in that those with the slippery upper hand don’t have much to hold dear on a dark winter’s eve. The unimaginative, the hidebound change little; keeping to form, the small-minded remain small-minded and the pettish is ever looking over a shoulder lest he be found out. They get to live with themselves, hardly the best company.

*Source: Abstemius' Fables translated by Sir Roger L'Estrange, 1692.

© John Lubans 2015
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