The Bear in Charge of the Bees

Kriloff’s Original Fables
Once on a time, the Bear to please,
The wild beasts chose him, in the spring, to guard the Bees,
Though they might well have made a better choice, than
A bear to honey, his one weakness knowing : To which the sad result was owing
But how can wild beasts judge of anything ? They got refusal flat,
All that the vacant place came after
And lo, as if inviting laughter,
There Bruin meekly sat
Some smelt a rat
And they were right : the honey was soon in Bruin’s den. The news got out, They raised a shout,
And then The Bear brought to the judgment seat
Where he his charge resigned,
And they an order signed,
That in his den the winter through should lie the hoary
cheat. Decided they, corrected, fast confirmed
But yet no honey to the hive returned,
And Bruin’s ears gave not the slightest heed
By dawn of all his leave he’d taken,
And in his den, on bed down shaken,
The honey off his paws he licked with greed,
Waiting his time on other hives to feed. — —
[The abuses of the Civil Administration called forth many energetic measures from Alexander I. Repeated
oukases reproved the system of bribe-taking and oppression
which existed, as well as the choice of those for official duties whose reputation notoriously unfitted them for any
such employment. The number of these oukases till the end of Alexander’s reign proves that the evil had been
but little repressed, and the fact, that not a few of them
relate to the necessity of bringing justice to bear on the
criminals, shows that many, like the Bear, escaped all punishment.
The closing line of this fable contains a Russian saying,
which, if translated more literally, would run thus :
The honey off his paws he licked with greed, Contented altogether, And waiting, as on shore men do, for more propitious weather.]

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