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  • Il Novellino

    Here it is told of the fox and the mule

    The fox going through a wood, happened upon a mule, and it had never seen a mule before.

    The fox was greatly afraid, and fled and fleeing happened upon a wolf. The fox said she had discovered a very strange beast1, and did not know its name. The wolf said: let us go and see it. And they came to it. To the wolf it appeared very strange. The fox asked it its name. The mule replied: to tell the truth I cannot remember very well, but if you can read, you will find it written on my back right hoof. The fox replied: never mind, I cannot read, much as I should like to. The wolf then took up: leave it to me, for I can read very well indeed. The mule then showed his right hoof, the cleaving whereof seemed like letters. The wolf said: I cannot see them very well. The mule answered: corne a little closer, for the letters are very small. The wolf came nearer and looked closely. The mule then gave him a kick which killed him.

    The fox went off saying: not everyone who can read is wise2.

    1 lit. "a very new beast."
    2 The novella appears elsewhere, as in the Proverbi of Cinto de' Fabrizi.

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    Il Novellino : The Hundred Old Tales
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    Storer, Edward, trans. Il Novellino: The Hundred Old Tales. London: G. Routledge & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., [1925]. 199-200


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