The Fox in the Well
A Fox, having fallen into a well, made a shift by sticking his claws into the sides to keep his head above water. Soon after a Wolf came and peeped over the brink, to whom the Fox applied very earnestly for assistance; entreating that he would help him to a rope, or something of the kind, which might favour his escape. The Wolf moved with compassion at his misfortune, could not forbear expressing his concern. "Ah, poor Reynard," says he, "I am sorry for you with all my heart; how could you possibly come into this melancholy condition?"
"Nay, pr'ythee, friend," replied the Fox, "if you wish me well, do not stand pitying me, but lend me some succour as fast as you can; for pity is but cold comfort when one is up to the chin in water, and within a hair's breadth of starving or drowning."
Mere expressions of pity, without a desire or attempt to alleviate suffering, are a mockery. He that would be truly a friend, will be ready to give his assistance when needed.