Story of the Old Fox and the Monkey.

ONCE upon a time an old fox was put to great shifts for his subsistence, and resolved to exert all his wits to procure it. After offering up a prayer for success to his endeavours, he set out and ran. When he had advanced some way he saw a fish; he was delighted, and congratulated himself on his good fortune; but, upon reflection, he perceived that the case was one which called for wariness and circumspection; for the place was a dry uncultivated valley, without water, a spot where one sees not a fish, save in his dreams. Neither sea was there nor fishmonger's shop. Ad­vancing two miles, he met a young monkey, upon seeing whom he felt that he had found the key where­with to unlock his difficulty. He ran up to him, saluted him, and said: “Well met! The gazelles and the wild asses send you their salutations through me, and beg that you will come to their assistance against the tyranny of the lion, who is never satiated with shedding innocent blood. Come, that we may bestow on you the royal crown. They are waiting for your Majesty farther on the road.” The monkey was deceived by these flattering expressions, and his ambition threw him into the pitfall. “Advance,” said he, “and lead the way.” When they reached the spot and saw the fish, “You,” said the fox, “have the first claim to this morsel, for you are my prince and sovereign.” The monkey, blinded by his cupidity, went forward to seize the fish, and was instantly caught in a snare from which he was unable to escape. Upon this, the fox sat down quietly to eat the fish. “What means this?” inquired the monkey. “From whose table is this dainty?” “The poor,” replied the fox, “cannot afford to flee from bread. Fetters and imprisonment befit the dignity of kings: make not, O sage, your mind uneasy.”

The philosophers were loud in their praises of Sindibād on his concluding this tale, and compared him to the sun, and themselves to the motes in the sunbeam. “If I am not wiser than yourselves,” replied he, “I am at least not inferior to you in wisdom. Your case and my own, in this respect, reminds me of the camel, the wolf, the fox, and the pumpkin.” They requested to hear the story, and Sindibād related it as follows: