The Dog, the Man, the Cat, and the Hawk

Kriloff’s Original Fables
A Dog, a Man, a Cat, and Hawk once swore To one another friendship fast, eternal,
Beyond all flattery sincere, true-hearted, nay supernal.
Apart should be nor house nor table more
They took an oath to share in joy and sorrow, Each other lend a hand,
And by each other stand ; In case of need to die one for the other planned.
Together all, to hunt, starting upon the morrow, These new pledged friends A long way from their home go tramping,
Till stained, worn out, they think of camping
For rest, at the first brook that by them wends.
They all soon take a snooze, some lying, some upright,
When on a sudden near them draws
A bear, with widely opened jaws.
At such a dreadful sight
The Hawk is in the air, the Cat gets up a tree, And the poor Man left there with life had parted,
But for the brave Dog, he
On the fierce beast, to wrestle with it, darted,
Clinging until the bear’s neck smarted,
And though the bear hugged close to crush his
foe, Roaring aloud from anger and from pain,
The Dog bit deeper through and through again : Fixed to the throat, his teeth not once let go,
Till loss of strength with life fast ebbing laid him low. Well, but the Man ? With men, a shame to us, ’tis rare That they with dogs in faithfulness compare ! While with the fight was occupied the bear,
Our Man, his gun over his shoulder laid, Took to his heels, the cur, afraid !
Caressing words and promises come easy to the tongue
But he’s the friend, who unto us through evil days hath
How few can on such friends rely ! In proof of which, how often seen have I, That just as in this fable the faithful Dog is left, So he,
That is from troubles free Through a kind friend, who is for him bereft Of all, that friend abandons to his woes, And e’er abuses him where’er he goes.
[The idea of this fable is found in many Russian
proverbs answering to our own, ” A friend in need is a
friend indeed.”]

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