Aesop's Fables: Townsend (1867)
32. The Fox and the Goat (Perry 9)
A FOX one day fell into a deep well and could find no means of escape.
A Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well, and seeing the Fox,
inquired if the water was good. Concealing his sad plight under a merry
guise, the Fox indulged in a lavish praise of the water, saying it was
excellent beyond measure, and encouraging him to descend. The Goat, mindful
only of his thirst, thoughtlessly jumped down, but just as he drank, the
Fox informed him of the difficulty they were both in and suggested a scheme
for their common escape. 'If,' said he, 'you will place your forefeet
upon the wall and bend your head, I will run up your back and escape,
and will help you out afterwards.' The Goat readily assented and the Fox
leaped upon his back. Steadying himself with the Goat's horns, he safely
reached the mouth of the well and made off as fast as he could. When the
Goat upbraided him for breaking his promise, he turned around and cried
out, 'You foolish old fellow! If you had as many brains in your head as
you have hairs in your beard, you would never have gone down before you
had inspected the way up, nor have exposed yourself to dangers from which
you had no means of escape.'
Look before you leap.
George Fyler Townsend's translation of the fables, first published in 1867, is
in the public domain and can be found at many websites, including Project
Illustrations come from: Aesop's Fables, by George Fyler Townsend, with
illustrations by Harrison Weir, 1867, at Google