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The Dog and the Wolf



A lean, hungry, half-starved Wolf happened, one moonshiny night, to meet a jolly, plump, well-fed Mastiff; and after the first compliments were passed, says the Wolf, "You look extremely well; I protest, I think I never saw a more graceful, comely person; but how comes it about, I beseech you, that you should live so much better than I? I may say, without vanity, that I venture fifty times more than you do, and yet I am almost ready to perish with hunger." The Dog answered very bluntly, "Why, you may live as well, if you do the same for it as I do." "Indeed! what is that?" says he. "Why," says the Dog, "only to guard the house at night, and keep it from thieves." "With all my heart," replies the Wolf, "for at present I have but a sorry time of it; and I think to change my hard lodging in the woods, where I endure rain, frost, and snow, for a warm roof over my head and enough of good victuals, will be no bad bargain." "True," says the Dog; "therefore you have nothing to do but to follow me."

Now, as they were jogging on together, the Wolf spied a [85]crease in the Dog's neck, and having a strange curiosity, could not forbear asking him what it meant! "Pugh! nothing," says the Dog. "Nay, but pray," says the Wolf. "Why," says the Dog, "if you must know, I am tied up in the day-time, because I am a little fierce, for fear I should bite people, and am only let loose at nights. But this is done with a design to make me sleep by day, more than anything else, and that I may watch the better in the night time; for, as soon as ever the twilight appears, out I am turned, and may go where I please. Then my master brings me plates of bones from the table with his own hands; and whatever scraps are left by any of the family, all fall to my share; for, you must know, I am a favourite with everybody. So you see how you are to live.—Come, come along; what is the matter with you?" "No," replied the Wolf, "I beg your pardon; keep your happiness all to yourself. Liberty is the word with me; and I would not be a king upon the terms you mention."


The lowest condition of life, with freedom, is happier than the greatest without it. The bird of the air, though he roosts on a bough, has more real joy than the well-fed captive in a gilded cage.

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