A Fox one day fell into a deep well and could find no means of
escape. A Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well,
and seeing the Fox, inquired if the water was good. Concealing
his sad plight under a merry guise, the Fox indulged in a lavish
praise of the water, saying it was excellent beyond measure,
and encouraging him to descend. The Goat, mindful only of his
thirst, thoughtlessly jumped down, but just as he drank, the
Fox informed him of the difficulty they were both in and suggested
a scheme for their common escape.
"If," said he, "you will place your forefeet upon the wall and bend
your head, I will run up your back and escape, and will help you
The Goat readily assented and the Fox leaped upon his back.
Steadying himself with the Goat's horns, he safely reached the
mouth of the well and made off as fast as he could. When the
Goat upbraided him for breaking his promise, he turned around
and cried out, "You foolish old fellow! If you had as many brains
in your head as you have hairs in your beard, you would never
have gone down before you had inspected the way up, nor have
exposed yourself to dangers from which you had no means of
Look before you leap.
(Translated by George Fyler Townsend, 1814-1900)