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THE COCK AND THE FOX. Jean de La Fontaine

Upon a branch a crafty sentinel,
A very artful old bird, sat.
"Brother," a Fox said, "greet you well"
(He speaks so soft—there′s guile in that);
"Our quarrel′s over, peace proclaimed:
I bring the news; come down, embrace:
Do not delay: I shall be blamed
If soon not twenty stages from this place.
Now you and yours can take your ease:
Do what you please,
Without a fear;
We′re brothers now, you know, my dear.
Light up the bonfires everywhere:
Dismiss all care;
But let us first, to seal the bliss,
Have one fraternal, tender kiss."
"Friend," said the Cock, "upon my word,
More glorious news I never heard.
This peace.
May it increase;
It′s double joy to hear it, friend, from thee.
Ha! there I see
Two greyhounds—couriers, doubtless, as you are—
Coming fast down yonder scaur:
They′ll be here in a minute,
Ah! yes, there′s something in it—
I′ll come down quick:—we′d better kiss all round."
"Adieu," the Fox said; "Sir, my business presses;
We shall meet shortly, I′ll be bound:
Another time we can exult
Over this end of our distresses."
Then off the rascal ran to ground,
Full of chagrin and discontent.
The Cock laughed loud, to see his fear,
And clapped his wings, his wives to cheer.

It is a pleasure doubly sweet
To trick the scoundrel and the cheat.


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