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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

4.2. Of the auncyent wesel and of the rat /
(Perry 511)

Wytte is better than force or strengthe / As reherceth to vs this fable of an old wesel / the whiche myghte no more take no rats / wherfor she was ofte sore hongry and bethought her that she shold hyde her self withynne the floure for to take the rats whiche came there for to ete hit And as the rats came to the floure / she took and ete them eche one after other / And as the oldest rat of all perceyued & knewe her malyce / he sayd thus in hym self / Certaynly I shalle kepe me wel fro the / For I knowe alle thy malyce & falshede
And therfore he is wyse that scapeth the wytte and malyce of euyll folke / by wytte and not by force

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.