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

54. A FOX AND A SICK LION (Perry 142)

A Certain Lion that had got a Politick Fit of Sickness, made it his Observation, that all of the Beasts in the Forest, the Fox never came at him: And so he wrote him word how ill he was, and how mighty glad he should be of his Company, upon the Score of antient Friendship and Acquaintance. The Fox return’d the Complement with a thousand Prayers for his Recovery; but as for waiting upon him, he desired to be excus’d; for (says he) I find the Traces of abundance of Feet going into your Majesty’s Palace, and not one that comes back again.
THE MORAL. The kindness of ill-natur’d and designing People should be throughly consider’d and examin’d, before we give credit to them.

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.