Page:La Fontaine - The Original Fables Of, 1913.djvu/114
THE WOLF AND THE FOX
IN THE WELL
(Book XI.—No. 6)
Why does Æsop give to the fox the reputation of excelling in all tricks of cunning? I have sought for a reason, but cannot find one. Does not the wolf, when he has need to defend his life or take that of another, display as much knowingness as the fox? I believe he knows more, and I dare, perhaps with some reason, to contradict my master in this particular.
Nevertheless, here is a case where undoubtedly all the honour fell to the dweller in burrows.
One evening a fox, who was as hungry as a dog, happened to see the round reflection of the moon in a well, and he believed it to be a fine cheese. There were two pails which alternately drew up the water. Into the uppermost of these the fox leapt, and his weight caused him to descend the well, where he at once discovered his mistake about the cheese. He became extremely worried and fancied his end approaching, for he could see no way to get up again but by some other hungry one, enticed by the same reflection, coming down in the same way that he had.Two days passed without any one coming to the well. Time, which is always marching onward, had, during