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The Horse and the Lion

THE HORSE AND THE LION.THE HORSE AND THE LION.

A Lion seeing a fine plump Nag, had a great mind to eat a bit of him, but knew not which way to get him into his power. At last he bethought himself of this contrivance: he gave out that he was a physician, who, having gained experience by his travels into foreign countries, had made himself capable of curing any sort of malady or distemper incident to any kind of beast, hoping by this stratagem to get an easier admittance among cattle, and find an opportunity to execute his design. The Horse, who smoked the matter, was resolved to be even with him; and, so humouring the thing, as if he suspected nothing, he prayed the Lion to give him his advice in relation to a thorn he had got in his foot, which had quite lamed him, and gave him great pain and uneasiness. The Lion readily agreed and desired he might see the foot. Upon which the Horse lifted up one of his hind legs, and, while the Lion pretended to be poring earnestly upon his hoof, gave him such a kick in the face as quite stunned him, and left him sprawling upon the ground. In the mean time the Horse trotted away, neighing and laughing merrily at the success of the trick, by which he had defeated the purpose of one who intended to have tricked him out of his life.

APPLICATION.

Though all manner of fraud and tricking is mean, and utterly beneath a man of sense and honour, yet, methinks, equity itself allows us to disappoint the deceiver, and to repel craft by cunning. Treachery has something so wicked and worthy of punishment in its nature, that it deserves to meet with a return of its own kind: an open revenge would be too liberal for it, and nothing matches it but itself. However, therefore, abominable it is to be the aggressor in this point, yet it cannot be inconsistent with virtue to counterplot and to take all manner of advantage against the man who is undermining us.