As went a goat of grass to take her fill,
And browse the herbage of a distant hill,
She latch’d her door, and bid,
With matron care, her kid;
“My daughter, as you live,
This portal don’t undo
To any creature who
This watchword does not give:
‘Deuce take the wolf and all his race!’”
The wolf was passing near the place
By chance, and heard the words with pleasure,
And laid them up as useful treasure;
And hardly need we mention,
Escaped the goat’s attention.
No sooner did he see
The matron off, than he,
With hypocritic tone and face,
Cried out before the place,
“Deuce take the wolf and all his race!”
Not doubting thus to gain admission.
The kid, not void of all suspicion,
Peer’d through a crack, and cried,
“Show me white paw before
You ask me to undo the door.”
The wolf could not, if he had died,
For wolves have no connection
With pains of that complexion.
So, much surprised, our gourmandiser
Retired to fast till he was wiser.
How would the kid have been undone
Had she but trusted to the word?
The wolf by chance had overheard!
Two sureties better are than one;
And caution’s worth its cost,
Though sometimes seeming lost.
The Wolf, the Goat, and the Kid by Jean de La Fontaine Fables in Book 4