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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

2.10. Of the good man and of the serpente
(Perry 573)

He that ought now to be assewred that applyketh and setteth hym to doo to somme other eny euyll / wherof esope reherceth suche a fable / Of a serpent / whiche wente & came in to the hows of a poure man / whiche serpent lyued of that whiche felle fro the poure mans table / For the whiche thynge happed a grete fortune to this poure man and bycame moche ryche / But on a daye this man was angry ageynste the serpent / and took a grete staf / and smote at hym / and gretely hurted hym / wherfore the serpente wente oute of his hous And therin he came neuer ageyne / And within a lytyll whyle after this / this man retourned and felle ageyne in to grete pouerte / And thenne he knewe that by the fortune of the Serpent he was bycome ryche / and repentyd hym moche of that he smote the serpent / And thenne this poure man wente and humbled hym bifore the serpent sayenge to hym / I praye the that thow wylt pardonne me of thoffense that I haue done to the / And thenne sayd the serpente to the poure man / Syth thow repentest the of thy mysdede / I pardonne and forgyue it to the But as longe as I shalle be on lyue / I shalle remembre me of thy malyce / For as thow hurtest me ones / thow maist as wel hurte me another tyme / For the wounde that thow madest to me / may not forgete the euylle whiche thow hast done to me wherfore he that was ones euylle / shalle euer be presumed & holden for euylle /
And therfore men ought to presume ouer hym / by whome they receyue some dommage and not haue suspecte theyr good and trewe frendes

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.