Kriloff’s Original Fables
In a wild forest once a Lion chased a Goat
Her soon he overtook,
And over her his greedy look Went, on his fat and certain feast to gloat.
To save herself, it seemed, no hope was left
A ravine there her of all chance bereft
But the light Goat, her strength redoubled by the shock,
Like to an arrow from a bow,
Shot o’er the precipice below,
And, on the farther side, alighted on a rock. The Lion stopped his speed.
It happened that a friend was there to help his need : And that was our old friend—the Fox.
” How ! ” says he. ” Thou, that art so bold and strong,
Be beaten by a Goat ! To thee doth it belong
What miracles thou wilt to work ! A faint heart shocks :
The ravine’s wide, but if thou triest, The leap thou easily defiest,
I speak with conscience clear, from friendship true : Thy life no risk should run, unless I knew
The force and the agility that’s thine.” The Lion’s blood was up, and hotter grew
He took his spring, and through the air he flew, But never reached the ravine’s steep decline : Head over heels he fell, killed on the spot. And what felt then the friend that caused his lot ?
Stealthily down the ravine’s side he slipped,
And, seeing that no flattery could be lipped,
No service done the Lion more, He used him for his larder’s store,
_ Carousing well to keep his memory green, And ere a week had gnawed his friend’s bones white and
clean. — —
[One of the fables omitted in this translation, ” The
Lion and the Man,” has been supposed by Professor Grote to be the origin of the present one. “The Lion
and the Man ” was omitted by Kriloff in all the later editions of his fables, and is undoubtedly one of his weaker
productions. It was written in 1809, the third year of
his career as a fabulist, being his twelfth original fable, whereas he had already taken seventeen from La Fontaine. The opening lines contain its moral
” Well to be strong, but better far be wise. He, that this truth doth not believe, May here the clearest proof receive, That but small good in strength wanting in reason lies.
The boasting Lion, enticed into the net to show his
force, falls a victim to the Man. Grote believes that ” The
Lion, the Goat, and the Fox ” is only a reproduction twenty
years later of the same idea. I do not share this opinion,
and doubt if Kenevitch did, for he gives it without the
slightest comment. I imagine the present fable, like ” The Fire in the Grove,” to be intended for interested and treacherous assurances of friendship. In the earlier fable the Man is a hunter, and only follows his calling in ensnaring the Lion, but in this case the craft of the Fox is too cruel to be a fit representative of mind as opposed to
force, but it is in its place when applied t& a teeacherous
Kriloff’s Original Fables