The Original Fables of La Fontaine/The Fox and the Young Turkeys
THE FOX AND THE YOUNG TURKEYS
(Book XII.—No. 18)
Some young turkeys were lucky enough to find a tree which served them as a citadel against the assaults of a certain fox. He, one night, having made the round of the rampart and seen each turkey watching like a sentinel, exclaimed, "What! These people laugh at me, do they? And do they think that they alone are exempt from the common rule? No! by all the gods! no!"
He accomplished his design.
The moon shining brilliantly seemed to favour the turkey folk against the fox. But he was no novice in the laying of sieges, and had recourse to his bag of rascally tricks. He pretended to climb the tree; stood upon his hind legs; counterfeited death; then came to life again. Harlequin himself could not have acted so many parts. He reared his tail and made it gleam in the moonshine, and practised a hundred other pleasantries, during which no turkey could have dared to go to sleep. The enemy tired them out at last by keeping their eyes fixed upon him. The poor birds became dazed. One lost its balance and fell. Reynard put it by. Then another fell and was caught and laid on one side. Nearly half of them at length succumbed and were taken off to the fox's larder.
To concentrate too much attention upon a danger may cause us to tumble into it.