1.35. THE LION, THE BEAR, THE MONKEY AND THE FOX. It is often more prudent to suppress our sentiments than either to flatter or to rail.
The Tyrant of the forest issued a proclamation, commanding all his subjects to repair immediately to his royal den. Among the rest the Bear made his appearance; but pretending to be offended with the steams which issued from the monarch's apartments, he was imprudent enough to hold his nose in his majesty's presence. This insolence was so highly resented, that the Lion in a rage laid him dead at his feet. The Monkey, observing what had passed, trembled for his carcase; and attempted to conciliate favour by the most abject flattery. He began with protesting, that for his part he thought the apartments were perfumed with Arabian spices; and exclaiming against the rudeness of the Bear, admired the beauty of his majesty's paws, so happily formed, he said, to correct the insolence of clowns. This fulsome adulation, instead of being received as he expected, proved no less offensive than the rudeness of the Bear; and the courtly Monkey was in like manner extended by the side of Sir Bruin. And now his majesty cast his eye upon the Fox. Well, Reynard, said he, and what scent do you discover here? Great prince, replied the cautious Fox, my nose was never esteemed my most distinguishing sense; and at present I would by no means venture to give my opinion, as I have unfortunately got a terrible cold. [more info]