The Lion, the Wolf and the Fox (French Folk Tale)

Folk Tales, French Folk Tales3068


A Lion, old, and impotent with gout,

Would have some cure for age found out.

This king, from every species,:

Call”d to his aid the leeches.

They came, from quacks without degree

To doctors of the highest fee.

Advised, prescribed, talk”d learnedly;

But with the rest

Came not Sir Cunning Fox, M.D.

Sir Wolf the royal couch attended,

And his suspicions there express”d.

Forthwith his majesty, offended,

Resolved Sir Cunning Fox should come,

And sent to smoke him from his home.

He came, was duly usher”d in,

And, knowing where Sir Wolf had been,

Said, “Sire, abused your royal ear

Has been by rumours insincere;

To wit, that I've been self-exempt

From coming here, through sheer contempt.

But, sire, your royal health to aid,

I vow”d to make a pilgrimage,

And, on my way, met doctors sage,

In skill the wonder of the age,

Whom carefully I did consult

About that great debility

Term”d in the books senility,

Of which you fear, with reason, the result.

You lack, they say, the vital heat,

By age extreme become effete.

Drawn from a living wolf, the hide

Should warm and smoking be applied.

Sir Wolf, here, won”t refuse to give

His hide to cure you, as I live.”

The king was pleased with this advice.

Flay”d, jointed, served up in a trice,

Sir Wolf first wrapped the monarch up,

Then furnish”d him whereon to sup.

Beware, ye courtiers, lest ye gain,

By slander”s arts, less power than pain.



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