The Fox and the Sick Lion
It was reported that the Lion was sick, and the beasts were made to believe that they could not make their court better than by going to visit him. Upon this, they generally went, but it was particularly remarked that the Fox was not one of the number. The Lion, therefore, dispatched one of his Jackals to sound him about it, and to ask him why he had so little charity and respect as never to come near him at a time when he lay so dangerously ill, and everybody else had been to see him. "Why," replied the Fox, "pray present my duty to his majesty, and tell him that I have the same respect for him as ever, and have been coming several times to kiss his royal paw, but I am so terribly frightened at the mouth of his cave, to see the print of my fellow-subjects' feet all pointing forwards, and none backwards, that I had not resolution enough to venture in."
Now, the truth of the matter was, that the sickness of the Lion was only a sham to draw the beasts into his den, the more easily to devour them.
It is well to weigh and consider the nature of any proposal thoroughly before we accede to it; but, certainly, if we have reason, from the injury done to others, to suspect that we may suffer harm, it is decidedly better to decline.