A Goat and Fox argued. Goat bet its beard it was right. It was wrong and a Monkey shaved the beard and gave it to the Fox.
Have honor and pay your debts.
A certain venerable Goat was one day deeply engaged in a serious dispute with a crafty Fox, and the argument became very warm on both sides; when the Goat in order to give the greater weight to his sentiments on the matter, rather rashly and inconsiderately laid the wager of his beard against the Fox, so certain was he of being on the right side of the question; but unfortunately it was at last clearly proved that the poor Goat had lost his wager, and although the Fox had neither law nor power on his part to enforce the payment, yet the honest dignity of the Goat would not suffer him to take any unfair advantage, and he immediately submitted to the lesser disgrace, the loss of his beard, to preserve his honour pure and unsullied, and patiently let his chin be shaved clean by a dextrous Monkey, who was at hand, and presented the shaggy trophy to the unrelenting victor.
By this Fable we are taught the danger of an undue degree of warmth in dispute, and the folly of peremptorily asserting any thing we are unable to prove, although we may ourselves be persuaded of its truth.
And on the other hand, it presents a beautiful view of that high degree of honourable principle, inherent in some characters, which can submit to the privation of external show, to preserve their honour sacred and unimpeached. It sets also a most useful example to those men, who are so entirely swayed by their interest, that no form of oath can be found so binding, or promise so sacred, which they will not evade, and even sometimes openly break. But all such should be taught that to keep their word, with the strictest fidelity in all their transactions, although prejudicial to their immediate interest, gains them a reputation, which will abundantly compensate in the end for any loss they may sustain at the moment. J. N.