The Travellers and the Bear
Two men, being about to travel through a forest together, mutually promised to stand by each other in any danger they should meet on the way. They had not gone far when a Bear came rushing towards them out of a thicket; upon which, one, being a light, nimble fellow, got up into a tree. The other, falling flat upon his face, and holding his breath, lay still, while the Bear came up and smelled at him; but that creature, supposing him to be a dead carcass, went back to the wood without doing him the least harm. When all was over, the man who had climbed the tree came down to his companion, and, with a pleasant smile, asked what the Bear had said to him; "For," says he, "I took notice that he clapped his mouth very close to your ear." "Why," replied the other, "he charged me to take care, for the future, not to put any confidence in such cowardly rascals as you are."
Nothing is more common than to hear people profess friendship when there is no occasion for it; but he is a true friend who is ready to assist us in the time of danger and difficulty. Choose, therefore, friends whom you can depend on for such a time, and greatly value them.