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Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)

138. A FLEA AND A MAN (Perry 272)

A Fellow finding somewhat prick him, popt his finger upon the Place, and it prov’d to be a Flea. What art thou, says he, for an Animal, to suck thy Livelyhood out of my Carcass? Why ‘tis the Livelyhood (says the Flea) that Nature has allotted me, and my stinging is not mortal neither. Well, says the Man, but ‘tis troublesome however: And now I have ye, I’ll secure ye for ever hurting me again, either little or much.
THE MORAL. Live and let live, is the Rule of common Justice; but if People will be troublesome on the one hand, the Obligation is discharg’d on the other.

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.