Page:La Fontaine - The Original Fables Of, 1913.djvu/89
THE CAT AND THE FOX
(Book IX.—No. 14)
The cat and the fox, in the manner of good little saints, started out upon a pilgrimage. They were both humbugs, arch-hypocrites, two downright highwaymen, who for the expenses of their journey indemnified themselves by seeing who could devour the most fowls and gobble the most cheese.
The way was long and therefore wearisome, so they shortened it by arguing. Argumentation is a great help. Without it one would go to sleep. Our pilgrims shouted themselves hoarse. Then having argued themselves out, they talked of other things.
At length the fox said to the cat, "You pretend that you're very clever. Do you know as much as I? I have a hundred ruses up my sleeve."
"No," answered the cat, "I have but one; but that is always ready to hand, and I maintain that it is worth a thousand other dodges."
Then they fell again to disputing one against the other on each side of the question, the whys and the wherefores, raising their voices higher and higher. Presently the sudden appearance of a pack of hounds stopped their noise.The cat said to the fox, "Now, my friend, ransack