Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)
2. A WOLF AND A LAMB (Perry 155)
As a Wolf was lapping at the Head of a Fountain, he spy'd a Lamb paddling
at the same time a good way off down the Stream. The Wolf had no sooner
the Prey in his eye, but away he runs open-mouth to't. Villain (says he)
how dare you lie muddling the Water that I'm a drinking? Indeed, says
the poor Lamb, I did not think that my drinking here below could have
foul'd your Water so far above. Nay, says t'other, you'll never leave
your chopping of Logick, till your Skin's turn'd over your Ears, as your
Father's was, a matter of six months ago, for prating at this saucy rate;
you remember it full well, Sirrah. If you'll believe me, Sir, (quoth the
innocent Lamb, with fear and trembling) I was not come into the World
then. Why thou Impudence, cries the Wolf, hast thou neither Shame nor
Conscience? But it runs in the Blood of your whole Race, Sirrah, to hate
our Family; and therefore since Fortune has brought us together so conveniently,
you shall e'en pay some of your Forefathers Scores before you and I part.
And so without any more ado, he leap'd at the Throat of the miserable
helpless Lamb, and tore him immediately to pieces.
THE MORAL OF THE TWO FABLES ABOVE. 'Tis an easy Matter to find a Staff
to beat a Dog. Innocence is no Protection against the arbitrary Cruelty
of a tyrannical Power; But Reason and Conscience are yet so sacred, that
the greatest Villanies are still countenanc'd under that Cloke and Colour.
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.