The Tortoise and the Geese and Other Fables of Bidpai  by Maude Barrows Dutton

The Three Fish

There was once a pond far from the highway, and in it lived Three Fish in peace and happiness. Now one of these Fish always used his wits; the second used his sometimes, but the third never used his at all. One day Two Fishermen chanced upon this pond, and saw the Three Fish, which were large and fat.

"Quick, let us return home and bring our nets," they cried. "Here is a fine catch!"

When the Three Fish heard these words, they lay still in terror. Then the Fish who always made use of his wits resolved at once what he would do. Without stopping to consult his brothers, he swam quickly to the outlet of the pond and was soon out of harm's way.

Soon after this, the Fishermen returned and missed one of the Fish. They at once looked about for an outlet, and when they had discovered it, stopped it up. There now seemed no escape for the other two. In desperation, the Fish who sometimes used his wits began to float on his back on the top of the water. The Fishermen picked him up, and so well did he play his part that they threw him back into the pond, supposing he was dead. Meanwhile the Fish who never used his wits sank to the bottom, where he was easily caught, and was served that very day on the King's table.