1647 van Sichem - Aesop Fable - Woodcut hand coloured - The Foxes
Christoffel van Sichem II (ca. 1577-1658)
Beautiful hand coloured woodcut by Christoffel van Sichem II (ca. 1577-1658) issued for the Greek / Latin edition of Dutch neo-Latin poet, humanist and Leiden Professor of Greek, Daniel Heinsius (1580-1655).
A fox being caught in a trap was glad to save his neck by leaving his tail behind him. Upon coming abroad into the world, he began to be so sensible of the disgrace such a defect would bring upon him, that he almost wished he had died rather than come away without it.
Resolving to make the best of a bad matter, he called a meeting of the rest of the foxes and proposed that all should follow his example. "You have no notion," said he, "of the ease and comfort with which I now move about: I could never have believed it if I had not tried it myself. But really, when one comes to reason upon it, a tail is such an ugly, inconvenient, unnecessary appendage, that the only wonder is that, as foxes, we could have put up with it so long. I propose, therefore, my worthy brethren, that you all profit by the experience that I am most willing to afford you and that all foxes from this day forward cut off their tails."
Upon this one of the oldest stepped forward and said, "I rather think, my friend, that you would not have advised us to part with our tails, if there were any chance of recovering your own."