Animals, one by one, told an aging lion the things they had done for him. The Fox, last, told the best story.
The first liar doesn’t stand a chance.
A lion, growing old, lay sick in his cave. All the beasts came to visit their king, except the Fox. The Wolf therefore, thinking that he had a capital opportunity, accused the Fox to the Lion of not paying any respect to him who had the rule over them all and of not coming to visit him. At that very moment the Fox came in and heard these last words of the Wolf. The Lion roaring out in a rage against him, the Fox sought an opportunity to defend himself and said, “And who of all those who have come to you have benefited you so much as I, who have traveled from place to place in every direction, and have sought and learnt from the physicians the means of healing you?’ The Lion commanded him immediately to tell him the cure, when he replied, “You must flay a wolf alive and wrap his skin yet warm around you.” The Wolf was at once taken and flayed; whereon the Fox, turning to him, said with a smile, “You should have moved your master not to ill, but to good, will.”
The king of beasts was now grown old, and sickly, and all his subjects of the forrest, (saving only the fox) were to pay their duties to him. The wolfe, and the fox like a couple of sly knaves, were still putting tricks one upon another, and the wolfe took this occasion to do the fox a good office. I can assure your majesty, says the wolfe, that ’tis nothing but pride and insolence that keeps the fox from shewing himself at court as well as his companions. Now the fox had the good luck to be within hearing, and so presented himself before the lyon, and finding him extremely enrag’d, begs his majesties patience, and a little time only for his defence. Sir (says he) I must presume to value my self upon my respect and loyalty to your majesty, equal at least to any of your other subjects; and I will be bold to say, that put them all together, they have not taken half the pains for your majesties service now upon this very occasion, that I have done. I have been hunting up and down far and near, since your unhappy indisposition, to find out a remedy for ye, which with much ado I have now compass’d at last, and it is that which I promise my self will prove an infallible cure. Tell me immediately (says the lyon) what it is then: Nothing in the world, says the fox, but to flay a wolfe alive, and wrap your body up in the warm skin. The wolfe was by all this while; and the fox in a snearing way advis’d him for the future, not to irritate a prince against his subjects, but rather to sweeten him with peaceable, and healing councells.
The bus’ness of a pickthank is the basest of offices, but yet diverting enough sometimes, when one rascal happens to be encounter’d with another.