Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
18. THE FOX, THE LION AND THE FOOTPRINTS
Perry 142 (Ademar
A lion had grown old and weak. He pretended to be sick, which was just
a ruse to make the other animals come pay their respects so that he could
eat them all up, one by one. The fox also came to see the lion, but she
greeted him from outside the cave. The lion asked the fox why she didn't
come in. The fox replied, 'Because I see the tracks of those going in,
but none coming out.'
Other people's lives are lessons in how we can avoid danger: it is
easy to enter the house of a powerful man, but once you are inside, it
may already be too late to get out.
Note: The tracks leading into the lion's cave were a well-known cliche
in the ancient world (e.g., Horace,
Epistles 1.1.74-5: 'The footsteps frighten me: they all face in towards
you with none coming back out').
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.