<< Home Page | Caxton Index

Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

6.4. Of the catte and of the chyken
(Perry 16)

He whiche is fals of kynde / & hath begonne to deceyue some other / euer he wyl vse his craft / As it appiereth by this present Fable of a kat whiche somtyme tok a chyken / the whiche he biganne strongly to blame / for to haue fonde somme cause that he myght ete hit / and sayd to hym in this manere / Come hyther thou chyken / thow dost none other good but crye alle the nyght / thow letest not the men slepe / And thenne the chyken ansuerd to hym / I doo hit for theyre grete prouffite / And ouer ageyne the catte sayd to hym / Yet is there wel wors / For thow arte an inceste & lechour For thow knowest naturelly both thy moder and thy doughter And thenne the chyken sayd to the cat / I doo hit by cause that my mayster maye haue egges for his etynge / And that hys mayster for his prouffyte gaf to hym bothe the moder and the doughter for to multyplye the egges / And thenne the Catte sayd to hym / by me feythe godsep thow hast of excusacions ynough / but neuertheles thow shalt passe thurgh my throte / for I suppose not to faste this day for alle thy wordes /
And thus is it of hym whiche is custommed to lyue by rauyn / For he can not kepe ne absteyne hym self fro hit / For alle thexcusacions that be leyd on hym

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.