The king of beasts sent out command
That of his vassals every sort
Should send some deputies to court--
With promise well to treat
Each deputy and suite;
On faith of lion, duly written,
None should be scratch'd, much less be bitten.
The royal will was executed,
And some from every tribe deputed;
The foxes, only, would not come.
One thus explain'd their choice of home:--
'Of those who seek the court, we learn,
The tracks upon the sand
Have one direction, and
Not one betokens a return.
This fact begetting some distrust,
His majesty at present must
Excuse us from his great levee.
His plighted word is good, no doubt;
But while how beasts get in we see,
We do not see how they get out.'
Source: Wright's translation of La Fontaine, Fable 6.14.
Click here for a SLIDESHOW of all the colored Steinhowel images. You can see the artist has even drawn in some of those tell-tale animal tracks!