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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

1.10. Of the man and of the serpent
(Perry 176)

He that leneth and helpeth the euylle men / synneth / for after that men haue doo to them some good / they hurte them afterward / For as men sayen comynly / yf ye kepe a man fro the galhows / he shalle neuer loue yow after / wherof Esope reherceth suche a fable / A man was somtyme / whiche fond a serpent within a vyne / and for the grete wynter and frost the serpent was hard / and almost dede for cold wherof the good man had pyte and toke and bare her in to his hows and leyd her before the fyre / and so moche he dyd that she came ageyne in to her strengthe and vygour / She beganne thenne to crye and whystled about the hows and troubled the good wyf / and the children / wherfor this good man wold haue her oute of his hows / And whanne he thoughte to haue take her she sprange after his neck for to haue strangled hym /
And thus hit is of the euyll folk whiche for the good done to them / they yeld ageyne euyll and deceyuen them whiche haue had pyte on them / And also theyre felauship is not good ne vtyle /

Caxton published his edition of Aesop's fables in 1484. There are modern reprints by Joseph Jacobs (D. Nutt: London, 1889) and more recently by Robert Lenaghan (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1967). Lenaghan's edition is available at amazon.com.