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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

6.9. Of the labourer and of the pyelarge
(Perry 194)

He whiche is taken with the wicked and euyll oughte to suffre payne and punycyon as they / As it appiereth by this fable / Of a labourer whiche somtyme dressyd and sette his gynnes and nettes for to take the ghees and the cranes / whiche ete his corne / It happed thenne that ones amonge a grete meyny of ghees and cranes / he took a pyelarge / whiche prayd the labourer in this maner / I praye the lete me go / For I am neyther goos ne crane nor I am not come hyther for to do to the ony euylle / The labourer beganne thenne to lawhe / and sayd to the pyelarge / yf thow haddest not be in theyr felauship / thow haddest not entryd in to my nettes / ne haddest not be taken / And by cause that thow arte founde and taken with them / thow shalt be punysshed as they shalle be
Therfore none ought to hold companye with the euylle withoute he wylle suffre the punycion of them whiche ben punysshed


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.