A fox, who had an eye on a peacock, was one day standing in a field with his face turned up to the sky.
"Reynard," said the peacock, "what have you been doing?"
The Peacock and the Fox
"Oh, I have been counting the stars," said the fox.
"How many are they?" said the peacock.
"About as many as the fools on earth," said the fox.
"But which do you think is the greater, the number of the stars or of the fools?" said the peacock.
"If you put it so, I should say the fools are more by one," said the fox.
"Who is that one?" said the peacock.
"Why, my own silly self!" said the fox.
"How are you silly, Reynard?" said the peacock.
"Why, was it not foolish of me to count the stars in the sky, when I could have counted the stars in your brilliant plumage to better advantage!" said the fox.
"No, Reynard," said the peacock—"therein is not your folly—although there is neither wit nor wisdom in your prattle but in the thought that your fine words would make an easy prey of me!"
The fox quietly left the place, saying, "The knave that hath been found out cannot have legs too quick!"