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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 562 (Ademar 30)

A partridge had seated herself high on a perch when a fox came up to her and said, 'How beautiful you are to look at: your legs are so red! your mouth is like coral! Ah, if only you were sleeping, you would be even more lovely...' The partridge believed the fox and closed her eyes, and the fox immediately grabbed her. In a voice choked with sobs, the partridge said to the fox, 'I beg you, in the name of all your artful wiles, please say my name before you eat me up.' As the fox's mouth opened to pronounce the word 'partridge,' the partridge flew out and escaped. The fox said sadly, 'Woe is me, what need was there for me to speak?' The partridge likewise said, 'Woe is me, what reason was there for me to close my eyes, when I wasn't even sleepy?'
For people who speak when there is no reason to do so and who go to sleep when they should be on their guard.

Note: For a similar fable about a fox and a rooster, see Fable 149 (following).

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.