<< Home Page | Caxton Index

Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

3.14. Of the man and of the wood
(Perry 302)

He that gyueth ayde and help to his enemy is cause of his dethe / as recyteth this fable of a man whiche made an axe / And after that he had made his axe / he asked of the trees / and sayd / ye trees gyue yow to me a handle / And the trees were content / And whanne he had maade fast his handle to the axe / he began to cutte and throwe doune to the ground alle the trees / wherfore the oke and the Asshe sayd / yf we be cutte / hit is wel ryght and reason / For of oure owne self we ben cut and thrawen doune /
And thus hit is not good to put hym self in to the daunger and subiection of his enemye / ne to helpe hym for to be adommaged / as thou maist see by this presente fable / For men ought not to gyue the staf / by whiche they may be beten with

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.