Kriloff’s Original Fables
A Wolf, that thought into a fold to creep By night, mistakenly did leap
Into a kennel, and could not get out. At once arose a fearful rout, Scenting the bully grey, the baying pack
Would break through all to fight
The whippers in ” A thief ! up, up lads ! ” shout
The doors are closed with ready knack
And all the kennel is a hell of noise and fright.
With sticks some thither run
Others snatch up a gun :
” A light! a light !” they cry. ‘Twas brought, and there Our wolf sat, huddled ‘gainst the wall, His tail into the corner pressed, bristling his hair, Chattering his teeth, and in his eyes a glare,
As if with them he could devour them all. But, seeing that no sheep now stopped his way, And that the reckoning came at last For those, on which he’d broken fast So oft, our trickster ‘gan to pray For parley and for- peace : ” My friends, what cause is there for all this riot ?
‘Tis I, your friend of old and comrade quiet,
Come in goodwill to let all quarrels cease;
Let bygones be forgot, and general concord reign,
And I engage, not only no flock to touch again,
But for it ‘gainst all others myself my teeth to use, And on my oath of Wolf I swear, That I . . .”—”Good friend, forbear,”
Broke in the huntsman, “to abuse
Thyself! No greyer than my own thy hair, And long thy wolfish nature have I seen
Hence this my rule hath always been : Not otherwise a peace to make
With any wolf, but when I take His skin from off his back.” And on the Wolf at once let loose the eager pack.
[This represents Napoleon in Russia, and the huntsman
is intended for Kutuzoff. The fable was read by Kutuzoff
himself to his officers on the field of battle, after one of
the victories of the retreat from Moscow. That Napoleon
at this time vainly endeavoured to enter into negotiations
is a well-known historical fact.]
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