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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

6.16. Of the husbond and of his two wyues
(Perry 30)

Noo thynge is werse to the man than the woman / As it appereth by this fable / of a man of a meane age / whiche tooke two wyues / that is to wete an old / & one yong / whiche were both dwellyng in his hows / & by cause that the old desyred to haue his loue / she plucked the blak herys fro his hede and his berde / by cause he shold the more be lyke to her / And the yonge woman at the other syde plucked and drewe oute alle the whyte herys / to the ende / that he shold seme the yonger / more gay and fayrer in her syghte / And thus the good man abode withoute ony here on his hede
And therfore hit is grete folye to the auncyent to wedde them self ageyne / For them is better to be vnwedded / than to be euer in trouble with an euyl wyf / for the tyme in whiche they shold reste them / they put it to payne and to grete labour


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.