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


Once upon a time the Hares found themselves mightily unsatisfy’d with the miserable Condition they liv’d in, and called a Council to advise upon’t. Here we live, says one of ‘em, at the Mercy of Men, Dogs, Eagles, and I know not how many other Creatures and Vermin, that prey upon us at Pleasure; perpetually in frights, perpetually in danger; and therefore I am absolutely of opinion that we had better die once for all, than live at this rate in continual Dread that’s worse that Death it self. The Motion was seconded and debated, and a Resolution immediately taken, One and All, to drown themselves. The Vote was no sooner pass’d but away they scudded with that Determination to the next Lake. Upon this Hurry there leapt a whole Shoal of Frogs from the Bank into the Water, for fear of the Hares. Nay then, my Masters, says one of the gravest of the Company, pray let’s have a little Patience. Our Condition, I find is not altogether so bad as we fansied it; for there are those you see that are as much afraid of us, as we are of others.
THE MORAL OF THE TWO FABLES ABOVE There’s no Contending with the Orders and Decrees of Providence. He that made us knows what’s fittest for us; and every Man’s own Lot (well understood and managed) is undoubtedly the best.

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.