Once upon a time there was a Fox who went to a village to look for a hen, for he hoped to find one that he could carry off and eat. When he got in among the hen-houses, however, the dogs saw him and gave chase. As he fled he chanced to run into a school-house, and as he ran through it a piece of paper caught on his tail and stuck to it, and there it remained as he sped out into the open and across the desert.
When he had escaped from the dogs and got safely home, all his brother foxes said to him: "What's that you've got on your tail?" "That," said he, "is an order from the King that the dogs are not to attack me." So they said: "How splendid! Whenever you go off to steal a hen just let us know, and we'll come with you."
Just then, however, they saw a party of horsemen coming along with dogs and hounds, and as soon as the dogs and hounds saw the foxes they started off after them. And the foxes ran this way and that to escape them, until they were quite tired and worn out.
At last they succeeded in getting to a place of safety.
When the sowars had finally disappeared, his friends said:
"O Brother, what was that you said: 'I have got an order from the King that the dogs are not to chase me'?"
"Brothers," replied the Fox, "that's all right; whoever can read it will obey it."1 But they all said: "Never since we have been foxes have we been in such a tight corner as you got us into just now!"
1 This isn't very clear in the Persian, but the Fox probably meant that the order was all that he had told them it was, only the dogs were stupid and couldn't read what it said.