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Full text of "The fables of Aesop"

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THE FABLES OF JESOP 





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PUBLISHERS' NOTE 

Except where separately acknowledged the fables 
in this volume are printed from the third edition of 
Sir Roger L 'Estrange 's translation (1699). The 
publishers are indebted to Messrs. George Routledge 
& Sons, Ld., for permission to use those from the 
version of the Rev. G. F. Townsend 



The text and illustrations IENRY STO.XE £■ SOX, Ltd., 



CONTENTS 



The Vain yackdaw 



The Ants and The Grasshopper - - - II 



The Eagle and The Arrow - - - - III 



The Oxe?i and The Axle-Trees - IV 



The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse - - - V 



The She-Goats and Their Beards - - - - ^ I 



The Mountain in Labour _ _ - - VI 



The Monkeys and Their M^r - - - VIII 



CONTENTS 



The Monkey and The Fishermen - - IX 



The Hart and The Vine - - X 



The Lion and The Three Bulls - XI 



The Goat and The Ass - - XII 



The Birds, The Beasts, and The -6(7/ XIII 



The Hare and The Tortoise - XIV 



The G^jv? and The Cranes XV 



The Eagle and His Captor - - XVI 



The /Ftfj/> and The £**& - - XVII 



The Grasshopper and The OW - XVIII 



CONTEN IS 



The Fox and The Crane - - XIX 



The Monkey and The Dolphin XX 



The Eagle and The Beetle - - - XXI 



The Pomegranate, The Apple-Tree, and The Bramble - XXII 



The Owl and The Birds - - XXIII 



The Lark Burying Her Father - XXIV 



The IVolfAnd The Goat XXV 



THE VAIN JACKDAW 



Fa m I 



A Jackdaw that had a mind to be Sparkish, Trick'd 
himself up with all the Gay-Feathers he could 
Muster together: And upon the Credit of these StolTn, or 
Borrow'd Ornaments, he Valu'd himself above All the Birds 
in the Air Beside. The Pride of this Vanity got him the 
Envy of all his Companions, who, upon a Discovery of the 
Truth of the Case, fell to Pluming of him by Consent ; 
and when Every Bird had taken his Own Feather ; the Silly 
Jackdaw had Nothing left him to Cover his Nakedness. 

The Moral 

We steal from one Another all manner of Ways, and 
to all manner of Purposes ; Wit, as well as Feathers ; but 
where Pride and Beggery Meet, People are sure to be made 
Ridiculous in the Conclusion. 



The Vain jfackc/aiv 



THE ANTS AM) THE GRASSHOPPER 



Fable II 



A S the Ants were Airing their Provisions One Winter, 
J^ \^ Up comes a hungry Grasshopper to 'em, and b( 
a Charity. They told him that he should have Wrought 
in Summer, if he would not have Wanted in Winter. Well, 
says the Grasshopper, but I was not Idle neither ; for I 
Sung out the Whole Season. Nay then, said they, You 
shall e'en do Well to make a Merrv Year on't, and Dance 
in Winter to the Tune that You Sung in Summer. 

The Moral 

A Life of Sloth is the Life of a Brute ; but Action 
and Industry is the Business of a Great, a Wise, and a 
Good Man . 



The Ants and The Grasshopper 



THE EAGLE AND THE ARROW 



Fable III 



A N Ragle that was Watching upon a Rock once for 
j^" J^ a Hare, had the 111 Hap to be struck with an 
Arrow. This Arrow, it seems was Feather'd from her 
own Wing, Which very Consideration went nearer her 
Heart, she said, than Death itseli. 

Tin Moral 

Nothing goes nearer a Man in his Misfortunes, than 
to find himself Undone by his Own Folly, or but a?iy way 
Accessary to his own Ruine. 



The Ea?le and I he .7/v 



THE OXEN AND THE AXLE-TREES 



Fabli IV 



THE Axle-trees were Complaining of the Ingratitude 
oi the Oxen. How often, say they, have we, 
when Timber, fed ye with our Leaves, and reliev'd ve 
under our Shadow ? and for You to drag us now at this 
rate, over Dirt and Stones ! Alas ! cry'd the Oxen : Do 
you not see how we Pant and Groan, and how we are 
Goaded on, to do what we Do ? The Axle-trees Con- 
sidered how unwillingly thev did it, and so Forgave them. 

The Moral 

JFhat we are fore (I to do by an Over-ruling Power and 

Necessity, is not properly our own Act, 



The Oxen and The Axle-Trees 



THE TOWN MOUSE AND THE COUNTRY MOUSE 



Fable Y 



THERE goes an Old Story of a Country Mouse that 
Invited a Town-Sister of hers to a Country Colla- 
tion, where she spar'd for Nothing that the Place afforded ; 
as Mouldy Crusts, Cheese-Parings, Musty Oatmeal, Rusty 
Bacon, and the like. Now the Town-Dame was so well 
bred, as Seemingly to take All in Good Part: But vet at 
last, Sister (says she, after the Civilest Fashion) why will you 
be Miserable when you may be Happy? Why will you lie 
Pining, and Pinching your self in such a Lonesome Starving 
Course of Life as This is ; when 'tis but (join"; to Town 
along with Me; to Enjoy all the Pleasures, and Plenty that 
your Heart can Wish ? This was a Temptation the 
Country Mouse was not able to Resist ; so that away they 
Trudg'd together, and about Midnight got to their Tourneys 
End. The Town- Mouse show'd her Friend the Larder, the 
Pantry, the Kitchin, and Other Offices where she laid her 
Stores ; and after This, carry 'd her into the Parlour, where 
they found, yet upon the Table, the Reliques of a Mighty 
Entertainment of That very Ni^ht. The Town-Mouse 



Carv'd her Companion of what she lik'd Best, and so to't 
they fell upon a Velvet Couch together : The Poor Bu??ipki?i 
that had never seen, nor heard of such Doings before, Bless'd 
her self at the Change of her Condition, when (as ill luck 
would have it) all on a Sudden, the Doors rlew open, and in 
comes a Crew of Roaring Bullies, with their Wenches, their 
Dogs and their Bottles, and put the Poor Mice to their 
Wits End, how to save their Skins. The Stranger Especi- 
ally, that had never been at This Sport before ; but she made 
a Shift however for the present, to slink into a Corner, where 
she lay Trembling and Panting 'till the Company went their 
Way. So soon as ever the House was Quiet again, Well : 
My Court Sister , says she, If This be the Way of Your 
Town-Gamho/es, I'll e'en back to my Cottage, and my 
Mouldy Cheese again; for I had much rather lie Knabbing 
of Crusts, without either Fear or Danger, in my Own Little 
Hole, than be Mistress of the Whole World with Perpetual 
Cares and Alarums. 

The Moral 

The Difference betwixt a Court and a Country Life. 
The Delights, Innocence , and Security of the One, Compard 
with the Anxiety, the Wickedness, a?id the Hazards of the 
other. 



The Town Mouse and The Cowitry Mouse 



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THE SI IK-COATS AND THEIR BEARDS 



Fabli. VI 



THE She-goats having obtained by request from 
Jupiter the favour cf a beard, the He-goats, 
sorely displeased, made complaint that the females equalled 
them in dignity. " Suffer them," said Jupiter, " to enjov 
an empty honour, and to assume the badge of your nobler 
sex, so long as they are not your equals in strength or 
courage." 

The Moral 

// matters little if those who are inferior to us in merit 
should be like us in outside appearances. 



[Edition of Rev. G. F. Townsend, 1867.] 



The She-Goats and Their Beards 



THE MOUNTAIN IN LABOUR 



Fable VII 



WHEN Mountains cry out, people may well be 
Excus'd the Apprehension of some Prodigious 
Birth. This was the Case here in the Fable. The 
Neighbourhood were All at their Wits end, to consider 
what would be the Issue of That Labour, and instead of 
the Dreadful Monster that they Expected, Out comes at 
last a Ridiculous Mouse. 

The Moral 
Much ado about Nothing. 



The Mountain in Labour 



THE MONKEYS AND THEIR MOTHER 



BLE VIII 



THERE was a Monkey that had Twins: She Doted 
upon One of them, and did not much care for 
T'other. She took a sudden Fright once, and in a Hurry 
whips up her Darling under her Arm, and carries the Other 
a Pick-a-Pack upon her Shoulders. In This Haste and 
Maze, Down she comes, and beats out her Favourites 
Brains against a Stone ; but That which she had at her 
Back came off Safe and Sound. 

Thk Moral 
Fondlings are Commonly Unfortunct 



The Monkeys and Their Mother 



THE MONKEY AND THE FISHERMEN 



Fable IX 



A Monkey was sitting up in a high tree, when, seeing 
some Fishermen laying their nets in a river, he 
watched what they were doing. The Men had no sooner 
set their nets, and retired a short distance to their dinner, 
than the Monkey came down from the tree, thinking that 
he would try his hand at the same sport. But in attempt- 
ing to lav the nets he got so entangled in them, that being 
well nigh choked, he was forced to exclaim: "This serves 
me right, for what business had I, who knew nothing of 
tishin ."-, to meddle with such tackle as this?" 



[Edition or' Rev. Thomas James, 1848.] 



The Mofikey and The Fishermen 



THE HART AND THE VINE 



Fable X 



A Hart that was hard Press'd by the Huntsmen, took 
Sanctury in a Vineyard, and there he lay Close, 
under the Covert of a Vine. So soon as he thought the 
Danger was Over, he fell presently to Browzing upon the 
Leaves ; and whether it was the Rustling, or the Motion 
of the Boughs, that gave the Huntsmen an Occasion for a 
Stricter Search, is Uncertain ; but a Search there was, and 
in the End he was Discover'd, and shot. He dy'd in hne, 
with this Conviction upon him, that his Punishment was 
Just, for offering Violence to his Protector. 

Thf. Moral 

Ingratitude Perverts all the Measures of Religion and 
Society, by making it Dangerous to be Charitable and Good 
Naturd. 



The Hart and The Vine 



THE LION AND THE THREE BULLS 



Fabli XI 



THERK was a Party of Three Bulls that Struck up a 
League to Keep and Feed together, and to be 
One and All, in case of a Common Enemy. If the Lyon 
could have Met with any of them Single, he would have 
done His Work, but so long as they Stuck to This Con- 
federacy, there was No Dealing with them. They fell to 
Variance at last among Themselves : The Lyon made his 
Advantage of it, and then with Great Ease he GainM his 
End. 

The Moral 

This is to tell us the Advantage, the Necessity, and the 
Force of Union ; And that Division brings Ruine. 



The Lio?i and The Three Bulls 



THE GOAT AND THE ASS 



Fable XII 



A Man once kept a Goat and an Ass. The Goat, 
envying the Ass on account of his greater abund- 
ance of food, said, "How shamefully you are treated: at 
one time grinding in the mill, and at another carrying 
heavy burdens;" and he further advised him that he should 
pretend to be epileptic, and fall into a ditch, and so obtain 
rest. The Ass gave credence to his words, and falling into 
a ditch, was very much bruised. His master, sending for a 
leech, asked his advice. He bade him pour upon the 
wounds the lights of a Goat. They at once killed the 
Goat, and so healed the Ass. 



[Edition of Rev. G. F. Townsend, 1867.] 



The Goat and The Ass 



THE BIRDS, THE BEASTS, AND THE BAT 



Fabli XIII 



UPON a Desperate and Doubtful Battel betwixt the 
Birds and the Beasts, the Bat stood Neater, till 
she found that the Beasts had the Better on't, and then 
went over to the stronger Side. But it came to pass after- 
ward (as the Chance of War is Various) that the Biro's 
Rally 'd their Broken Troops, and carry'd the Day ; and 
away she went Then to ["other Party, where she was Try'd 
by a Council of War as a Deserter; Stript, Banish'd, and 
finally Condemn'd never to see Dav-light again. 

Tin Moral 

Trimming in some Cases is Foul, and Dishonest ; in 
others Laudable, and in some again, not only Honest, hut 
Necessary. The Nicety lies in the skill of Distinguishing 
upon Coses, Times, and Degre 



The Birds ^ The Beasts ', and The Bat 



Fable XIV 



Wl [AT a Dull Heavy Creature (says a Hare) is This 
same Tortoise! And yet (says the Tortoise) I'll 
run with you for a Wager. 'Twas Do?ie a?id Done, and the 
Fox, by Consent, was to be the judg. They started to- 
gether, and the Tortoise kept jogging on still, 'till he came 
to the End of the Course. The Hare lay'd himself down 
about Midwav, and took a Nap; for, says he, I ean fetch 
up the Tortoise when I please : But he Over-slept himself it 
seems, for when he came to wake, though he scudded away 
as fast as 'twas possible, the Tortoise got to the Post before 

him, and Won the Wager. 

The Moral 

L T p and be Doing, is an Edifying Text ; for Action is 
the Business of Life, and there" s no Thought of ever coming 
to the End of our Journey in time, . sleep by the Way. 



The Hare and The Tortoise 



THE GEESE AND THE CRANES 



Fable XV 



SOME Sports-men that were abroad upon Game, spy'd 
a Company of Geese and Cranes a Feeding together, 
and so made in upon 'em as fast as their Horses could 
carry them. The Cranes that were Light, took Wing 
immediately, and sav'd themselves, but the Geese were 
Taken ; for they were Fat, and Heavy, and could not 
Shift so well as the Other. 

The Moral 

Lig/it of Body and Light of Purse, comes much to a 
Case in Troublesome Times ; Only the One saves himself by 
his Activity, and the Other scapes because he is not worth the 
Taking: 



The Geese and The Cranes 



THE EAGLE AND HIS CAP I OR 



I MM MI 



A Man took an Eagle, Pelted his Wings, and put him 
among his Hens. Somebody came and bought 
This and presenth New Feather'd him. He made a Flight 
at a Hare, Truss'd it, and brought it to his Benefactor. A 
Fox perceiving This, came and gave a Man a piece of Good 
Counsel. Have a care, savs Reynard, of putting too much 
Confidence in This Eagle; tor he'll go near, one time or 
other else, to take Yon for a Hare. Upon this Advice 
the Man Plum'd the Eagle once again. 



Tin Moral 

Persons and Humours may be ^Jumbled and Disguised, 
but Nature is like Quicksilver, that will never be KilTd. 



The Eagle and His Captor 



THE WASP AND THE SNAKE 



Fable XVII 



A Wasp seated himself upon the head of a Snake, 
and striking him unceasingly with his stings 
wounded him to death. The Snake, being in great 
torment, and not knowing how to rid himself of his 
enemy, or to scare him away, saw a wagon heavily laden 
with wood, and went and purposely placed his head 
under the wheels, and said, " I and my enemy shall thus 
perish together." 



[Edition of Rev. G. F. Townsend, 1867.] 



The JVasp and The Snake 




'*^H^,' <s^y,, -g 



THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE OWL 



i XVIII 



A N Owl sat sleeping in a Tree. But a Grasshopper, 
/ m. who was singing beneath, would not let her be 
quiet, abusing her with very indecent and uncivil Language; 
telling her she was a scandalous Person, who plied a-nights 
to get her Living, and shut her self up all day in a hollow 
Tree. The Owl desir'd her to hold her Tongue and be 
quiet: Notwithstanding which, she was the more impertinent. 
She beg'd of her a second time, to leave off; but all to no 
purpose : The Owl, vext at the heart to find that all she said 
went for nothing, cast about to inveigle her by a Stratagem. 
Well, says she, since one must be kept awake, 'tis a pleasure 
however to be kept awake by so agreeable a Voice; which, 
I must confess, is no ways inferior to the finest Harp. And, 
now I think on't, I have a Bottle of excellent Nectar, which 
my Mistress Pallas gave me; if you have a mind, I'll 
give you a Dram to wet your Whistle. The Grasshopper, 
ready to die with Thirst, and, at the same Time, pleas'd to 
be so complimented upon Account of her Voice, skip'd 
up to the Place very briskly : when the Owl advancing to 



meet her, seiz'd, and without much Delay, made her a 
Sacrifice to her Revenge : securing to her self, by the Death 
of her Enemy, a Possession of that Quiet, which, during 
her Life-time, she could not enjoy. 



(From the Application) 

We have no Right to be impertinent with one an- 
other to extremity ; and tho' there is no Law to punish 
such Incivilities .... they will scarce fail of meeting with 
deserved and just Chastisement, some way or other. 

[Third Edition of S. C'k l 73 ! -] 



fhe Grasshopper and The Owl 



THE FOX AND 1 ME CRANE 



Fable XIX 



THERE was a Great Friendship once betwixt a Fox 
and a Crane, and the Former would needs Invite, 
the Other to a Treat. They had Several Soups serv'd up 
in Broad Dishes and Plates, and so the Fox fell to Lapping 
himself, and bad his Guest Heartily Welcom to what was 
before him. The Crane found he was Put upon, but set 
so good a Face however upon his Entertainment ; that his 
Friend by All means must take a Supper with Him That 
night in Revenge. The Fox made Several Excuses upon 
the Matter of Trouble and Expence, but the Crane in fine, 
would not be said Nay ; So that at last, he promis'd him 
to come. The Collation was serv'd up in Glasses, with 
Long Narrow Necks, and the Best of Every thing that was 
to be had. Come (savs the Crane to his Friend) Pray be 
as Free as if you were at home, and so fell to't very 
Savourlv Himself. The Fox quickly found This to be a 
Trick, though he could not but Allow of the Contrivance 
as well as the justice of the Revenge. For such a Glass 



of Sweet-Meats to the One, was just as much to the Pur- 
pose, as a Plate of Porridge to the Other. 



The Moral 



Tis allowable in all the Liberties of Conversatio?i to 
give a Man a Rowland for his Oliver, and to pay him in 
his Own Coin, as we say; provided always that we keep 
within the Compass of Honour, and Good Manners, 



The Fox and The Crane 



THE MONKEY AND THE DOLPHIN 



Fable XX 



PEOPLK were us'd in the Days of Old, to earn 
Gamesome Puppies and Monkeys with 'em to Sea, 
to pass away the lime withal. Now there was One of 
these Monkeys, it seems, abord a Vessel that was cast away 
in a very great Storm. As the Men were Paddling for 
their Lives, and the Monkey for Company, a Certain 
Dolphin that took him for a Man, got him upon his Back, 
and was making towards Land with him. He had him 
into a Safe Road call'd the Pyrceus, and took occasion to 
Ask the Monkey, whether he was an Athenian or not? 
He told him Yes, and of a very Ancient Family there. 
Why then (savs the Dolphin) You know Pyrceus : Oh! 
exceedingly well, says T'other (taking it for the Name of 
a Man) Why Pyrceus is my very Particular CJood Friend. 
The Dolphtn, upon This, had such an Indignation for the 
Impudence of the Buffon- Monkey, that he gave him the 



Slip from between his Legs, and there was an End of my 
very Good Friend, the Athenian. 



The Moral 



Bragging, Lying, and Pretending, has Cost ma?iy a 
Man his Life and Estate. 



The Monkey and The Dolphin 



THE EAGLE AND THE BEETLE 



Fabli XXI 



A Hare that was hard put to 't by an Eagle, took 
Sanctuary in a Ditch with a Beetle. The Beetle 
Interceded for the Hare : The Eagle Flapt off the former, 
and Devoured the other. The Beetle took this lor an 
Affront to Hospitality, as well as to her Self, and so 
Meditated a Revenge, watch'd the Eagle up to her Nest, 
follow'd her, and took her Time when the Eagle was 
Abroad, and so made a shift to Roll out the Eggs, and 
Destroy the Brood. The Eagle upon this Disappointment, 
Timber'd a great ileal higher next Rout : The Beetle 
watch'd her still, and shew'd her the same Trick once 
again. Whereupon the Eagle made her Appeal to "Jupiter, 
who gave her leave to lav her next Course of Eggs in his 
own Lap. Rut the Beetle found out a way to make Ju- 
piter rise from his Throne ; so that upon the Loosning of 
his Mantle, the Egg- fell from him at unawares, and the 
Eagle was a Third time Defeated. Jupiter stomached the 



Indignity, but upon Hearing the Cause, he found the Eagle 
to be the Aggressor, and so Acquitted the Beetle. 



The Moral 



'Tis ?io t for a Ge?ierous Prince to Cou?ite?iance Oppres- 
sion a?zd Injustice, eve?i in his most Darling Favourites. 



The Eagle and The Beetle 



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THE POMEGRANATE, THE APPLE TREE 
AND THE BRAMBLE 



XXII 



THERE happen'd a Controversy once betwixt a For 
granate^ and an Apple, which was the Fairer Fruit 
of the Two. They were so Loud in their Discourse, that a 
Bramble from the next Hedg, Over-heard them. Come 
(says the Bramble) we are All Friends, and pray let's have 
No jangling among our selve 

The Morai 

Every Thing would be Thought Greater in the World 
than it is ; and the Root of it is This, that it first thinks it 
self so. 



The Pojnegra?iate, The Apple Tree, and The Bramble 



THE OWL AND THE BIRDS 



Fable XXIII 



THERE goes a Story oi an Owl that was advised by 
the Birds to Build rather among the Houghs and' 
Leaves, as They did, than in Walls and Hollow Trees ; and so 
they shew'd her a young Tender Plant for her Purpose. 
No, no, says the Owl, these Twigs in time will come to be 
Lim'd, and then you're all Lost if you do but touch 'em. 
The Birds gave little Heed to't, and so went on Playing and 
Chirping among the Leaves still, and passing their Time 
there in Flocks as formerly; till in conclusion the Sprigs 
were all daub'd with Lime, and the poor Wretches elamm'd 
and taken. Their Repentance came now too late; but in 
Memory of this Notable Instance of the OwTs Foresight 
the Birds never see an Owl to this very Day, but they Flock 
about her and Follow her, as if it were for a New Lesson. 
But our Modern Owls have only the Eyes, the Beak and the 
Plume of the Owls of Athens, without the Wisdom. 

The Moral 

Good Counsel is lost upon those that have not the Grace 
to hearken to' 7 ; or do not Understand it, or will not Embrace 
and Eollow it in the proper Season. 



The Owl and The Birds 



THE LARK BURYING HER FATHER 



Fablf XXIV 



THE Lark (according to an ancient legend) v 
created before the earth itself : and when her 
father died by a fell disease, as there was no earth, she could 
find for him no place of burial. She let him lie uninterred 
for five days, and on the sixth day, being in perplexity, she 
buried him in her own head. Hence she obtained her 
crest, which is popularly said to be her father's grave- 
hillock. 

The Moral 
Ton t IS s first duty is reverence to parents. 

[Edition of Rev. (j. F. Tov 1867.] 



The Lark Burying Her Father 



THE WOLF AND THE GOAT 



Li XXV 



A Wolf spy'd a Goat upon the Crag of a High Rock, 
and so call'd out to him alter this Manner : 
Hadst not thou better eome Down now, savs the Ifolf, 
into This Delicate Fine Meadow ? Well, savs the Goat, 
and so perhaps I would, il it were not for the Wolf that's 
there Before me : But I'm lor a Life of Safety, rather than 
for a Life of Pleasure. Your Pretence is the Filling of My 
Belly with Good Grass ; hut your Bus'ness is the Cramming 
of your Own Guts with Good Goats-Flesh: so that 'tis for 
your Own Sake, not Mine, that you'd have me come down. 

I'm Moral 

There s no Trusting to the Formal Civilities and In 
tations of an Enemy, and his Reasonings are but &?ia 

when he pretends to Advise us for our Good. 



The Wolf and The Goat 



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