Kriloff’s Original Fables
Whate’er the order that you introduce, In hands dishonest it must play the deuce :
They always find some trick to play,
Through which they get, against all right, their crooked way.
The lion asked a wolf a shepherd’s post to fill, The fox’s help giv’n to his comrade dear,
A word was whispered in the lioness’s ear, But, as of wolves there runs a rumour ill, And as, of course, none must of the lion’s favourites hear
;
The order went out : unto all beasts greeting,
And summons to a general meeting,
Where each must say what of the wolf he knew,
And if he thought him false or true. The order carried out, the beasts assembled all, Each after his decree to give his vote they call
;
But ‘gainst the wolf no word was said, And, by the judgment of the Assembly read,
To place him in the sheepfold ’twas decided. To that what said the sheep,
Present, of course, at a meeting not onesided ?
Alas, not so ! The sheep forgotten weep, With votes unasked,
Though theirs of all the voice that should have first been
asked.
[Kriloff here alludes to the abuses of the Village Communal Institutions, and seems inclined to point out that some of them arose from the want of character in the Russian peasant. All who know Russia will agree that the picture is not overcharged.]

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