A lean, hungry wolf chanced one moonshiny night to fall in with a plump well-fed House-Dog.
After the first compliments were passed between them, “How is it, my friend,” said the Wolf, “that you look so sleek? How well your food agrees with you! And here am I striving for my living night and day, and can hardly save myself from starving.”
“Well,” says the Dog, “if you would fare like me, you have only to do as I do.”
“Indeed!” says he, “and what is that?”
“Why,” replies the Dog, “just to guard the master’s house and keep off the thieves at night.”
“With all my heart; for at present I have but a sorry time of it. This woodland life, with its frosts and rains, is sharp work for me. To have a warm roof over my head and a bellyful of victuals always at hand will, methinks, be no bad exchange.”
“True,” says the Dog; “therefore you have nothing to do but to follow me.”
Now as they were jogging on together, the Wolf spied a mark in the Dog’s neck, and having a strange curiosity, could not forbear asking what it meant.
“Pooh! Nothing at all,” says the Dog.
“Nay, but pray,” says the Wolf.
“Oh! A mere trifle, perhaps the collar to which my chain is fastened—”
“Chain!” cries the Wolf in surprise; “you don’t mean to say that you cannot rove when and where you please?”
“Why, not exactly perhaps; you see I am looked upon as rather fierce, so they sometimes tie me up in the day-time, but I assure you I have perfect liberty at night, and the master feeds me off his own plate, and the servants give me their tit-bits, and I am such a favourite, and—but what is the matter? Where are you going?”
“Oh, good night to you,” says the Wolf; “you are welcome to your dainties; but for me, a dry crust with liberty against a king’s luxury with a chain.”