Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)
182. JUPITER AND FRAUD (Perry 313)
Jupiter appointed Mercury to make him a Composition of Fraud and Hypocrisy,
and to give every Artificer his Dose on't. The Medicine was prepar'd according
to the Bill, and the Proportions duly Observ'd, and Divided: Only there
was a great deal too Much of it made, and the Overplus remain'd still
in the Mortar. Upon Examining the whole Account, there was a mistake,
it seems, in the Reck'ning; for the Taylors were forgotten in the Catalogue:
So that Mercury for Brevity sake, gave the Taylors the whole Quantity
that was Left; and from hence comes the Old Saying; There's Knavery in
all Trades, but Most in Taylors.
THE MORAL. It is in some sort Natural to be a Knave. We are Made so,
in the very Composition of our Flesh and Blood; Only Fraud is called Wit
in One Case, good Husbandry in Another, &c. while 'tis the whole Business
of the World for One Man to Couzen Another.
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.