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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

5.6. Of the hegoote and of the wulf
(Perry 695)

The feble ought not to arme hym ageynst the stronge / As recyteth this present fable of a wulf / which somtyme ranne after a hegoot / and the hegoot for to saue hym lept vpon a roche / and the wulf besyeged hym / And after whan they had duellid there two or three dayes / the wulf beganne to wexe hongry / and the hegoote to haue thurst / And thus the wulf went for to ete / and the hegoot went for to drynke / And as the hegoot dranke he sawe his shadowe in the water / and speculynge and beholdynge his shadowe profered and sayd suche wordes within hym self / Thou hast so fayre legges / so fayr a berd / and so fayre hornes / and hast fere of the wulf / yf hit happed that he come ageyne / I shall corryge hym wel / and shalle kepe hym wel / that he shalle haue no myght ouer me / And the wulf whiche held hys peas / and herkened what he sayd / toke hym by the one legge thus sayenge / what wordes ben these whiche thow proferest & sayst broder Hegoote / And whanne the hegote sawe that he was taken / he beganne to saye to the wulf / Ha my lord / I saye no thynge / and haue pyte of me / I knowe wel / that it is my coulpe / And the wulf toke hym by the neck and strangled hym /
And therfore it is grete folye whan the feble maketh werre ageynst the puyssaunt and stronge


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.