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Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)

15. AN OLD LION (Perry 481)

A Lion that in the Days of his Youth and Strength had been very outragious and cruel, came in the end to be reduced, by old Age and Infirmity, to the last Degree of Misery and contempt; insomuch that all the Beasts of the Forest, some out of Insolence, others in Revenge, some, in fine, upon one Pretence, some upon another, fell upon him by Consent. He was a miserable Creature to all Intents and Purposes; but nothing went so near the Heart of him in his Distress, as to find himself battr’d by the Heel of an Ass.
THE MORAL A Prince that does not secure Friends to himself while he is in Power and Condition to oblige them, must never expect to find Friends when he is old and impotent, and no longer able to do them any Good. If he governs tyrannically in his Youth, he will be sure to be treated contemptuously in his Age; and the Baser his Enemies are, the more insolent and intolerable will be the Affront.

L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir Roger L'Estrange. Aesop - Fables which is available at amazon.com.