The Sick Lion

A Lion, who for many a day,
Had caught, and gorged himself with prey;
At last, was laid up with the gout,
So ill, he could not venture out;
Nor stir about, without a crutch,
Which didn't help his temper much.
The Fox, who heard this bad report,
With prudence, seldom came to court.
He didn't care to trust his skin,
Too much, the Palace gates within!
And this, is what he heard one day,
The Wolf, unto the Monarch say: -
"Your Majesty, I grieve to find,
The Fox, to treason seems inclined;
Whene'er I meet him, through the day
All silently he slinks away.
No more, your Highness, sees him here,
He's hatching mischief, Sire, I fear."
Then, said the Lion with a groan,
"They'd leave me here to die alone;
But now, I'll stop this kind of thing,
And let them know that I am King.
Go straightaway, bring the Fox to me,
And what he's at - we soon shall see."
Off went the Wolf, with wicked joy,
To think upon some safe decoy;
While Master Fox, to save his skin,
With many bows, came smiling in.
Then bent his knee, with easy grace,
While watching close the Lion's face.
The Monarch shook his mighty mane,
And with a growl, of rage and pain;
Said, "Sir, I've noticed that of late,
You do not in our presence wait!
"Now, Sir, explain yourself, I pray,
We'll hear what you have got to say."
The Fox, then bowing low, replied -
"Great King, I've traveled far and wide,
Since last I stood within this place,
And gazed upon that august face.
Magicians, many, have I seen,
And much among the doctors been.
To bring your Highness back to health,
(The task to which I set myself;)
I've vowed beneath no roof to dwell,
Until I see your Highness well."
Just then, the Wolf with staring eyes,
Came in, and saw, with great surprise;
The Fox, who talked with courtly ease,
And seemed the Lion much to please.
"And so," resumed the Fox, I bring,
A cure unto my lord, the King!
Which must be tried without delay,
For so the wisest doctors say.
A Wolf-skin, fresh to keep you warm
Must from a Wolf, be reeking torn!
And here is one, now near at hand,
Who will not for a trifle stand;
I'm sure he'll do so small a thing,
As give his hide, to cure his King."
The wretched Wolf, found out too late,
The tender mercies of the great.
The Lion, with a mighty roar,
Soon pinned him helpless to the floor;
With eager haste, tore off his skin,
And soon was snugly wrapped within!
But Master Fox ran off amain,
And never came to court again. [more info]

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