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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Jean de La Fontaine (1621–1695)

The Crow and the Fox.—“Fables”

From “Fables”

A MASTER crow, perched on a tree one day,

Was holding in his beak a piece of cheese.

A master fox, by th’ odor drawn that way,

Spake unto him in words like these:

“Good-morning, my Lord Crow!

How well you look, how handsome you do grow!

Upon my honor, if your note

Bears a resemblance to your coat,

You are the phœnix of the dwellers in these woods.”

At these words does the crow exceedingly rejoice;

And, to display his beauteous voice,

He opens a wide beak, lets fall his stolen goods.

The fox seized on’t, and said, “My dear good sir,

Learn you that every flatterer

Lives at the expense of him who hears him out.

This lesson is well worth some cheese, no doubt.”

The crow, ashamed, and much in pain,

Swore, but a little late, they’d not catch him again.