<< Home Page | Caxton Index

Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

5.15. Of the dogge / of the wulf and of the whether
(Perry 705)

Grete folye is to a fool that hat no myght / that wylle begyle another stronger than hym self / as reherceth this fable of a fader of famylle whiche had a grete herd or flcok of sheep / and had a grete dogge for to kepe them which was wel stronge / And of his voys all the wolues were aferd wherfore the sheepherd slepte more surely / but it happed / that this dogge for his grete age deyde / wherfore the sheepherdes were sore troubled and wrothe / and sayd one to other / we shall nomore slepe at oure ease by cause that our dogge is dede / for the wulues shall now come and ete our sheep / and thenne a grete wether fyers and prowd / whiche herd alle these wordes came to them and sayd / I shalle gyue yow good counceylle / Shaue me / and put on me the skynne of the dogge And whanne the wulues shalle see me / they shalle haue grete fere of me / And whanne the wulues came and sawe the wether clothed with the skynne of the dogge / they beganne all to flee / and ranne awey / t happed on a day that a wulf whiche was sore hongry / came and toke a lambe / and after ran awaye therwith / And thenne the sayd wether ranne after hym / And the wulf whiche supposed that it had ben the dogge shote thryes by the waye for the grete fere that he had / And ranne euer as fast as he coude / and the wether also ranne after hym withoute cesse / tyl that he ranne thurgh a busshe full of sharp thornes / the whiche thornes rente and brake alle the dogges skynne / which was on hym / And as the wulf loked and sawe behynde hym / beynge moche doubtuous of his dethe / sawe and perceyued alle the decepcion and falshede of the wether / And forthwith retorned ageynste hym / and demaunded of hym / what beest arte thow / And the wether ansuerd to hym in this maner / My lord I am a wether whiche playeth with the / And the wulf sayd / Ha mayster ought ye to playe with your mayster and with your lord / thow hast made me so sore aferd / that by the weye as I ranne before the / I dyde shyte thre grete toordes / And thenne the wulf ledde hym vnto the place where as he had shyte / sayenge thus to hym / Loke hyther / callest thow this a playe / I take hit not for playe / For now I shalle shewe to the / how thou oughtest not to playe so with thy lord / And thenne the wulf took and kylled hym / and deuoured and ete hym /
And therfore he that is wyse muste take good hede / how he playeth with hym whiche is wyser / more sage / and more stronge / than hym self is /


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.