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


There was a Snake that bedded himself under the Threshold of a Country-House: A Child of the Family happen’d to set his Foot upon’t; The Snake bit him, and he dy’d on’t. The Father of the Child made a Blow at the Snake, but miss’d his aim, and only left a Mark behind him upon the Stone where he struck. The Countryman offer’d the Snake, sometime after this, to be Friends again. No says the Snake, so long as you have this Flaw upon the Stone in your Eye, and the Death of the Child in your Thought, there’s no trusting of ye.
THE MORAL In Matters of Friendship and Trust, we can never be too tender; but yet there’s a great Difference betwixt Charity and Facility. We may hope well in many Cases, but let it be without venturing Neck and All upon’t, for New-Converts are slippery.

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.