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

187. HARES, FOXES, AND EAGLES (Perry 256)

There goes an Old Story of a bloody War betwixt the Hares, and the Eagles; and the Hares would fain have drawn the Foxes into their Alliance; but very Frankly and Civilly they gave them this Answer, That they would serve them with all their Hearts, if they did not perfectly understand both the Hares themselves, and the Enemy they were to Cope withal.
THE MORAL. There’s no Entering into any League, without well Examining the Faith and Strength of the Parties to’t.

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.