The Fox an Architect

Kriloff’s Original Fables
A lion once there was that upon poultry doted
;
Yet all he kept of them but turned out bad
;
And this no wonder to be noted,
For access to them each and every had :
So, they were stolen every day,
Or else the fowls themselves had got away. To put an end to all this loss and worry, A yard for them, without the slightest hurry,
The lion ordered to be built, and planned
So that from it all thieves were banned,
And so that all the fowls should find In it both space and pleasure to their mind.
Unto the lion they report
That, for a building of the sort, A fox was known to be the thing

And to a Fox they his appointment bring.
The work was well begun, and better ended : The fox whom they befriended
Was wanting not in talent, nor in zeal. Each that the building saw did admiration feel
!
All, that was wanted, there was found : Sweet provender the nose delighted round
;
Perches were hoisted everywhere
;
From heat and cold well-sheltered was the ground,
And pleasant nooks for brood hens here and there. The work great honour did reflect Upon the Architect,
And richly was he fee’d. The Lion then at once decreed,
The fowls in their new home to place without delay.
What was the good, though, of the change ? None, any way
:
The gate, it seemed, was strong enough
;
The fence too high for fowls to range,
Of solid close-worked stuff; And yet the fowls grew fewer day by day.
What caused the evil none could tell. The Lion set a watch, and who was caught ? The Fox, the wretched droll
!
He’d built it all, ’tis true, so well That to break in a thief had vainly sought,
But for himself he’d left a hidden hole.
[It would appear, from a variation in the earlier manuscript of this fable, that the original idea was a designed
loophole in a contract or a law ; but, in its present form, the fable appears to apply more to the Directors of Public
Institutions, who, while strict to prevent dishonesty in their subordinates, indulged in it with impunity themselves.]

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