A leopard was bragging about the beauty of his spots when a fox came up saying how much more beautiful his mind was. Neither liar really won.
Liars and boasters will undo themselves.
[These versions are not exactly the same fable, but are similar enough to be included on the same page.]
Aesop For Children
A Fox and a Leopard, resting lazily after a generous dinner, amused themselves by disputing about their good looks. The Leopard was very proud of his glossy, spotted coat and made disdainful remarks about the Fox, whose appearance he declared was quite ordinary.
The Fox prided himself on his fine bushy tail with its tip of white, but he was wise enough to see that he could not rival the Leopard in looks. Still he kept up a flow of sarcastic talk, just to exercise his wits and to have the fun of disputing. The Leopard was about to lose his temper when the Fox got up, yawning lazily.
“You may have a very smart coat,” he said, “but you would be a great deal better off if you had a little more smartness inside your head and less on your ribs, the way I am. That’s what I call real beauty.”
A fine coat is not always an indication of an attractive mind.
The fox and the Leopard disputed which was the more beautiful of the two. The Leopard exhibited one by one the various spots which decorated his skin. But the Fox, interrupting him, said, “And how much more beautiful than you am I, who am decorated, not in body, but in mind.”
The Leopard one day, in the hearing of the Fox, was very loud in the praise of his own beautifully spotted skin. The Fox thereupon told him that, handsome as he might be, he considered that he himself was yet a great deal handsomer. “Your beauty is of the body,” said the Fox; “mine is of the mind.”
L’Estrange version (A Fox and A Crocodile)
There happen’d a contest betwixt a fox and a crocodile, upon the point of bloud and extraction. The crocodile amplify’d wonderfully upon his family, for the credit of his ancestors. Friend (says the fox, smiling upon’t) there will need no herald to prove your gentility; for you carry the marks of your original in your very skin.
Great boasters and lyars have the fortune still some way or other to disprove themselves.
Vulpes et Pardus
Vulpes et pardus de pulchritudine concertabant et, pardo suam pellem versicolorem extollente, vulpes, cum suam praeponere non possit, dicebat pardo, “At quanto ego sum speciosior et quam longe formosior, quae non corpus, sed animum versicolorem et variis notis insignem sortita sum!”