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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

4.8. Of the trewe man / of the man lyer / and of the apes
(Perry 569)

In tyme passyd men preysyd more the folke full of lesynges and falshede than the man full of trouthe / the whiche thynge regneth gretely vnto this daye / As we may see by this present fable / Of the man of trouthe and of the man lyar / whiche wente bothe to gyder thorugh the countrey / And so longe they wente to gyder by theyr Iourneyes / that they came in to the prouynce of the apes / And the kynge of thapes made them bothe to be taken and brought before hym And he beynge in his Royal mageste / where as he satte lyke an Emperour / and alle his Apes aboute hym / as the subgets ben aboute theyr lord / wold haue demaunded / and in dede he demaunded to the lyer / who am I / And the lesynge maker & flaterer sayd to hym / thow arte emperour and kynge / the fayrest creature that is in the erthe / And after the kynge demaunded of hym ageyne / who ben these whiche ben al aboute me / And the lyar ansuerd / Syre they ben your knyghtes & your subgettes for to kepe your persone / and your Royalme / And thenne the kynge sayd thow arte a good man / I wylle that thow be my grete styward of my houshold / and that euery one bere to the honour and reuerence / And whan the man of trouthe herd alle this he sayd in hym self / yf this man for to haue made lesynges is soo gretely enhaunced / thenne by gretter rayson / I shalle be more worshopped and enhaunced / yf I saye trouthe / And after the kynge wold aske the trewe man / and demaunded of hym / who am I / and alle that ben aboute me / And thenne the man of trouthe ansuerd thus to hym / thow arte an ape and a beste ryght abhomynable / And alle they whiche ben aboute the are lyke and semblable to the / The kynge thenne commaunded that he shold be broken and toren with teeth and clawes and put alle in to pyeces /
And therfore it happeth ofte that the lyers and flaterers ben enhaunced / and the men of trouthe ben set alowe and put a back / For oftyme for to saye trouthe men lese theyre lyues / the whiche thynge is ageynst Iustyce and equyte

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.