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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

6.12. Of the Bee and of Iupiter
(Perry 163)

Now the euyl which men wysshe to other / cometh to hym whiche wyssheth hit / as hit appiereth by this fable / of a Bee whiche offred and gaf to Iupyter a pyece of hony / wherof Iupyter was moche Ioyous / And thenne Iupyter sayd to the bee / demaunde of me what thow wylt / and I shalle graunte and gyue hit to the gladly / And thenne the Bee prayd hym in this manere / God almyghty I pray the that thow wylt gyue to me and graunte / that who so euer shal come for to take awey my hony / yf I pryke hym / he may sondenly deye / And by cause that Iupyter loued the humayn lygnage he sayd to the Bee / Suffyse the / that who so euer shalle goo to take thy hony / yf thow pryke or stynge hym / Incontynent thow shalt deye / And thus her prayer was tourned to her grete dommage /
For men ought not to demaunde of god / but suche thynges that ben good and honest


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.