Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)
116. A CAT AND MICE (Perry 511)
There was a House mightily troubled with Mice, and a notable Cat there
was, that time after time had pick’d up so many of ‘em, that they agreed
among themselves to keep above in the Ceiling; for they found that upon
the plain Floor there was no Living for ’em. This spoiled Puss’s Sport,
unless she could find a way to trepan them again: So she leapt up to a
Pin that was driven into the Wall, and there hung like a Pole-Cat in a
Warren, to amuse them. The Mice took notice of it, and one wiser than
the rest stretched out his Neck to learn the Truth of the Matter, and
so soon as ever he found how ‘twas. Ah, says he, you may hang there till
your Heart akes; for if you were but a Dish-Clout, as you are a counterfeiting
Devil of a Cat, here’s not a Creature will come near ye.
THE MORAL. Let no Man lay himself at the Mercy of a known Enemy under
any Shew or Pretence whatsoever; for if he forfeits his Discretion, even
though he should happen to save his Carcase and his Fortune.
L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a
very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir
Roger L'Estrange. Aesop
- Fables which is available at amazon.com.