A braggart, lover of the chase,
Had lost a dog of valued race,
And thought him in a lion’s maw.
He ask’d a shepherd whom he saw,
“Pray show me, man, the robber’s place,
And I’ll have justice in the case.”
“’Tis on this mountain side,”
The shepherd man replied.
“The tribute of a sheep I pay,
Each month, and where I please I stray.”
Out leap’d the lion as he spake,
And came that way with agile feet.
The braggart, prompt his flight to take,
Cried, “Jove, O grant a safe retreat!”
A danger close at hand
Of courage is the test.
It shows us who will stand—
Whose legs will run their best.
The Lion and the Hunter by Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables in Book 6