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


A certain Covetous, Rich Churl Sold his whole Estate, and put it into Money, and then melted down That Money into One Mass, which he bury’d in the Ground, with his very Heart and Soul in Pot for Company. He gave it a Visit every Morning, which it seems was taken Notice of, and some Body that Observ’d him, found out his Hoard one Night, and Carry’d it away. The next Day he miss’d it, and ran almost out of his Wits for the loss of his Gold. Well, (says a Neighbour to him) and what’s all this Rage for? Why you had no Gold at all, and so you lost none. You did but Fancy all this while that you had it, and you may e’en as well Fancy again that you have it still. ‘Tis but laying a Stone where you laid your Money, and Fancying that Stone to be your Treasure, and there’s your Gold again. You did not Use it when you had it; and you do not Want it so long as you Resolve not to Use it.
THE MORAL. Better no Estate at all, than the Cares and Vexations that attend the Possession of it, without the Use on’t.

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.