Sir Wolf, here, won’t refuse to give his hide to cure you, as I live

A follow-up of sorts to The wolf, the fox, and the ailing lion – Jean de La Fontaine’s reworking (in an old-fashioned but serviceable translation from Gutenberg):

The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox

A lion, old, and impotent with gout,
Would have some cure for age found out.
Impossibilities, on all occasions,
With kings, are rank abominations.
This king, from every species,–
For each abounds in every sort,–
Call’d to his aid the leeches.
They came in throngs to court,
From doctors of the highest fee
To nostrum-quacks without degree,–
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, your royal ear
Has been abused, I fear,
By rumours false and insincere;
To wit, that I’ve been self-exempt
From coming here, through sheer contempt.
But, sire, I’ve been on pilgrimage,
By vow expressly made,
Your royal health to aid,
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.
The secret’s good, beyond a doubt,
For nature’s weak, and wearing out.
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 wrapp’d the monarch up,
Then furnish’d him whereon to sup.
Beware, ye courtiers, lest ye gain,
By slander’s arts, less power than pain;
For in the world where ye are living,
A pardon no one thinks of giving.

Le Lion, le Loup, et le Renard

Un Lion décrépit, goutteux, n’en pouvant plus,
Voulait que l’on trouvât remède à la vieillesse :
Alléguer l’impossible aux Rois, c’est un abus.
Celui-ci parmi chaque espèce
Manda des Médecins ; il en est de tous arts :
Médecins au Lion viennent de toutes parts ;
De tous côtés lui vient des donneurs de recettes.
Dans les visites qui sont faites,
Le Renard se dispense, et se tient clos et coi.
Le Loup en fait sa cour, daube au coucher du Roi
Son camarade absent ; le Prince tout à l’heure
Veut qu’on aille enfumer Renard dans sa demeure,
Qu’on le fasse venir. Il vient, est présenté ;
Et, sachant que le Loup lui faisait cette affaire :
Je crains, Sire, dit-il, qu’un rapport peu sincère,
Ne m’ait à mépris imputé
D’avoir différé cet hommage ;
Mais j’étais en pèlerinage ;
Et m’acquittais d’un voeu fait pour votre santé.
Même j’ai vu dans mon voyage
Gens experts et savants ; leur ai dit la langueur
Dont votre Majesté craint à bon droit la suite.
Vous ne manquez que de chaleur :
Le long âge en vous l’a détruite :
D’un Loup écorché vif appliquez-vous la peau
Toute chaude et toute fumante ;
Le secret sans doute en est beau
Pour la nature défaillante.
Messire Loup vous servira,
S’il vous plaît, de robe de chambre.
Le Roi goûte cet avis-là :
On écorche, on taille, on démembre
Messire Loup. Le Monarque en soupa,
Et de sa peau s’enveloppa ;
Messieurs les courtisans, cessez de vous détruire :
Faites si vous pouvez votre cour sans vous nuire.
Le mal se rend chez vous au quadruple du bien.
Les daubeurs ont leur tour d’une ou d’autre manière :
Vous êtes dans une carrière
Où l’on ne se pardonne rien.

The wolf, the fox, and the ailing lion

One of Aesop’s fables (205 in Chambry, 258 in Perry), found in Erasmus’ Adage 114 concerning Malum Consilium (Bad Advice) and the proverb malum consilium consultori pessimum (bad advice is especially bad for the adviser) where he describes it as non invenustus nec omnino indignus (not uncharming and not altogether unworthy). The full text is here but too long for me to translate. This translation is the Oxford Classics by Laura Gibbs.

The wolf, the fox, and the ailing lion.

The lion had grown old and sick and was lying in his cave. All the animals, except for the fox, had come to visit their king. The wolf seized this opportunity to denounce the fox in front of the lion, complaining that the fox showed no respect for the lion, who was the common master of them all. Indeed, the fox had not even come to pay the ailing lion a visit! The fox arrived just in time to hear the end of the wolf’s speech. The lion roared at the fox, but the fox asked for a chance to explain herself. ‘After all,’ said the fox, ‘which one of all the animals assembled here has helped you as I have, travelling all over the world in order to seek out and discover from the doctors a remedy for your illness?’ The lion ordered the fox to describe the remedy immediately, and the fox replied, ‘You must flay a living wolf and wrap yourself in his skin while it is still warm.’ When the wolf had been killed, the fox laughed and said, ‘It is better to put your master in a good mood, not a bad one.’
The story shows that someone who plots against others falls into his own trap.

Λέων καὶ λύκος καὶ ἀλώπηξ.

Λέων γηράσας ἐνόσει κατακεκλιμένος ἐν ἄντρῳ. Παρῆσαν δ’ ἐπισκεψόμενα τὸν βασιλέα, πλὴν ἀλώπεκος, τἄλλα τῶν ζώων. Ὁ τοίνυν λύκος λαβόνενος εὐκαιρίας κατηγόρει παρὰ τῷ λέοντι τῆς ἀλώπεκος, ἅτε δὴ παρ’ οὐδὲν τιθέμενης τὸν πάντων αὐτῶν κρατοῦντα, καὶ διὰ ταῦτα μηδ’ εἰς ἐπίσκεψιν ἀφιγμένης. Ἐν τοσούτῳ δὲ παρῆν καὶ ἡ ἀλώπηξ, καὶ τῶν τελευταίων ἠκροάσατο τοῦ λύκου ῥημάτων.Ὁ μὲν οὖν λέων κατ’ αὐτῆς ἐβρυχᾶτο. Ἡ δ’ ἀπολογίας καιρὸν αἰτήσασα· “Καὶ τίς σε, ἐφη, τῶν συνελθόντων τοσοῦτον ὠφέλησεν ὅσον ἐγώ, πανταχόσε περινοστήσασα, καὶ θεραπείαν ὑπὲρ σοῦ παρ’ ἰατρῶν ζητήσασα καὶ μαθοῦσα;” Τοῦ δὲ λέοντος εὐθὺς τὴν θεραπείαν εἰπεῖν κελεύσαντος, ἐκείνη φησίν· .”Εἰ λύκον ζῶντα ἐκδείρας τὴν αὐτοῦ δορὰν θερμὴν ἀμφιέσῃ.” Καὶ τοῦ λύκου αὐτίκα νεκροῦ κειμένου, ἡ ἀλώπηξ γελῶσα εἶπεν οὕτως· “Οὐ χρὴ τὸν δεσπότην πρὸς δυσμένειαν παρακινεῖν, ἀλλὰ πρὸς εὐμένειαν.” Ὁ μῦθος δηλοῖ ὅτι ὁ καθ’ ἑτέρου μηχανώμενος καθ’ ἑαυτοῦ τὴν μηχανὴν περιτρέπει.