'The Cock and the Fox', an illustration by John Vernon Lord
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 57.
The Fox and the Cock
who told him that Hounds were near
An experienced old Cock was settling himself to roost upon a
high bough, when a Fox appeared under the tree. I am come, said the artful
hypocrite, to acquaint you, in the name of all my brethren, that a general
peace is concluded between your whole family and ours. Descend immediately, I
beseech you, that we may mutually embrace upon so joyful and unexpected an
My good friend, replied the Cock, nothing could be more agreeable to me
than this news; and to hear it from you increases my satisfaction. But I
perceive two hounds at a distance coming this way who are probably dispatched
as couriers with the treaty: as they run very swiftly, and will certainly be
here in a few minutes. I will wait their arrival, that we may all four embrace
Reynard well knew, if that was the case, it was no time for him to
remain there any longer: pretending therefore to be in great haste - Adieu,
said he, for the present; we will reserve our rejoicings to another
opportunity: upon which he darted into the woods with all imaginable
Old Chanticleer no sooner saw him depart, than he crowed abundantly
in the triumph of his artifice: for by a harmless stratagem to disappoint the
malevolent intentions of those who are endeavouring to deceive us to our ruin,
is not only innocent but laudable.
Moral: Deceiving the deceiver in self-defence doubles the
Text: Robert Dodsley (1/46, 1761 )
La Fontaine 2/15. L’Estrange 353. Perry 671 (Fox and Dove). TMI
'The Ass, the Cock and the Lion', an illustration by John Vernon Lord
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 31
The Ass, the Cock and the Lion
AN Ass and a
Cock lived in a farm-yard together. One day a hungry Lion passing by and seeing
the Ass in good condition, resolved to make a meal of him. Now, they say that
there is nothing a Lion hates so much as the crowing of a Cock; and at that
moment the Cock happening to crow, the Lion straightway made off with all haste
from the spot. The Ass, mightily amused to think that a Lion should be
frightened at a bird, plucked up courage and galloped after him, delighted with
the notion of driving the king of beasts before him. He had, however, gone no
great distance, when the Lion turned sharply round upon him, and made an end of
him in a trice.
Moral: When the powerful are humbled it is only the
foolish who presume to think that it
will last for long.
Text: Thomas James (182, 1848).
Selected parallels: L’Estrange 1/150. Chambry
269. Perry 82. TMI J952.2.
'The Frogs who asked for a King', an illustration by John Vernon Lord
in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989, page 23.
The Text by Roger L'Estrange (with idiosyncratic spelling in tact):
The Frogs who asked
Jupiter for a King
In the days of Old, when the Frogs were All at Liberty in the Lakes, and grown quite Weary of
living without Government, they Petition’d Jupiter
for a King, to the End that there
might be some Distinction of Good and Evil, by Certain Equitable Rules and
Methods of Rewards and Punishment. Jupiter,
that knew the Vanity of their Hearts, threw them down a Log for their Governour; which upon the first Dash, frighted the
whole Mobile of them into the Mudd for the very fear on’t. This Panick Terror kept them in Awe for a
while, ’till in good time, one Frog,
Bolder than the Rest, put up his Head, and look’d about him, to see how squares
went with their New King. Upon This,
he calls his Fellow-Subjects together;
Opens the truth of the Case; and Nothing would serve them then, but
Riding a-top of him, Insomuch that the Dread they were in before, is now turn’d
into Insolence and Tumult. This King
they said was too Tame for them, and Jupiter must needs be Entreated to send
’em Another: He did so, but Authors are Divided upon it, whether ’twas a Stork, or a Serpent; though whether of the Two soever it was, he left them
neither Liberty, nor Property, but made a Prey of his Subjects. Such was their
Condition in fine, that they sent Mercury
to Jupiter yet once again for Another King, whose Answer was This: They that will not be Contented when they
are Well, must be Patient when Things are Amiss with them; and People had
better Rest where they are, than go farther, and fare Worse.
Moral: We should be content to be led by someone who is meek
and innocuous rather than suffer the rule of an evil tyrant.
Roger L’Estrange 1/19 (1692)
parallels: Phaedrus 1/2. Caxton, Romulus 2/1. La Fontaine 3/4. Chambry 66.
Perry 44. TMI J643.1.