Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)
37. A HORSE AND A LION (Perry 187)
There was an old hungry Lion would fain have been dealing with a Piece
of good Horse-Flesh that he had in his Eye: but the Nag he thought would
be too fleet for him, unless he could supply the want of a Heel, by Artifice,
and Address. He puts himself into the Garb, and Habit of a Professor of
Physick, and according to the Humour of the World, sets up for a doctor
of the College. Under this Pretext, he lets fall a Word or two by way
of Discourse, upon the Subject of his Trade; but the Horse smelt him out,
and presently a Crochet came in his Head how he might countermine him.
I got a Thorn in my Foot t’other Day, says the Horse, as I was crossing
a Thicket, and I am e’en quite Lamer on’t. Oh, says the new Physician,
do but hold up your Leg a little, and I’ll cure ye immediately. The Lion
presently puts himself in Posture for the Office; but the Patient was
too nimble for his Doctor, and so soon as ever he had him fair for his
Purpose, gave him a terrible Rebuke upon the Forehead with his Heel, that
he laid him at his Length, and so got off with a whole Skin, before the
other could execute his Design.
THE MORAL OF THE TWO FABLES ABOVE. Harm watch, Harm catch, is but according
to the common Rule of Equity and Retaliation, and a very warrantable Way
of deceiving the Deceiver.
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.