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

40. A BAT AND A WEAZLE (Perry 172)

A Weazle had seiz’d upon a Bat, and the Bat begg’d for Life. No, no, says the Weazle, I give no Quarter to Birds. Ah, (says the Bat) but I am a Mouse you see; look on my Body else: And so she got off for that Bout. The same Bat had the Fortune to be taken a-while by another Weazle; and there the poor Bat was forc’d to beg for Mercy once again. No, says the Weazle, no Mercy to a Mouse. Well (says t’other) but you may see by my Wings that I’m a Bird; and so the Bat scap’d in both Capacities, by playing the Trimmer.
THE MORAL OF THE THREE FABLES ABOVE. Trimming, in some, Cases, is foul and dishonest; in others laudable, and in some again not only honest but necessary. The Nicety lies in the Skill of distinguishing upon Cases, Times, and Degrees.

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.