Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
236. THE FOX AND THE CAT
Perry 605 (Odo
Against lawyers and the like.
The fox ran into the cat and asked, 'How many tricks and dodges do you
know?' The cat replied, 'Actually, I don't know more than one.' The fox
then asked the cat, 'What trick is that?' The cat said, 'When the dogs
are chasing me, I know how to climb trees and escape.' The cat then asked
the fox, 'And how many tricks do you know?' The fox said, 'I know seventeen,
and that gives me a full bag of tricks! Come with me, and I'll show you
my tricks so that the dogs won't be able to catch you.' The cat agreed
and the two of them went off together. The hunters began to chase them
with their dogs, and the cat said, 'I hear the dogs; I'm scared.' The
fox replied, 'Don't be afraid! I will give you a good lesson in how to
get away.' The dogs and the hunters drew nearer. 'Well,' said the cat,
'I'm going to have to leave you now; I want to do my trick.' And so the
cat jumped up in the tree. The dogs let the cat go and chased the fox
until they caught him: one of the dogs grabbed the fox by the leg, another
grabbed his belly, another his back, another his head. The cat who was
sitting up high in the tree shouted, 'Fox! Fox! Open up your bag of tricks!
Even so, I'm afraid all of them put together are not going to save you
from the hands and teeth of those demons!'
Note: Compare the Greek proverb in Archilochus, circa 650 B.C.E.: 'The
fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one great thing' (frag.
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.