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The Fox who had Lost his Tail

A FOX, caught in a trap, escaped by tearing off his brushy tail.

After that, the other animals mocked him, making him feel so ashamed that his life was a burden to him. He therefore worked out a plan to make all the other foxes the same as him, so that in their common loss he might better conceal his own deprivation.

He called a meeting of foxes. A good many came to it, and he gave a speech, advising them all to cut off their tails. He said that they would not only look much better without them, but that they would get rid of the weight of the brush, which was a very great inconvenience.

But one of them interrupted his speech.

"If you had not lost your own tail, my friend," that fox said, "you would not be giving us this advice."

- Æsop, 6th century BCE


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Some translations give "mutilation".