Sick in his den, we understand,
The king of beasts sent out command
That of his vassals every sort
Should send some deputies to court—
With promise well to treat
Each deputy and suite;
On faith of lion, duly written,
None should be scratched, much less be bitten.
The royal will was executed,
And some from every tribe deputed;
The foxes, only, would not come.
One thus explained their choice of home:
“Of those who seek the court, we learn,
The tracks on the sand
Have one direction, and
Not one betokens a return.
This fact begetting some distrust,
His majesty at present must
Excuse us from his great levee.
His plighted word is good, no doubt;
But while how beasts get in we see,
We do not see how they get out.”
The Sick Lion and the Fox – Jean de La Fontaine Fables – Book 6