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


The Estrich is a Creature that passes in common Reputation, for Half-Bird, Half-Beast. This amphibious Wretch happen’d to be taken twice in the same Day in a Battle betwixt the Birds and Beasts, and as an Enemy to both Parties. The Birds would have him to be a Beast, and the Beasts concluded him to be a Bird; but upon shewing his Feet to prove that he was no Bird, and upon shewing his Wings, and his Beak, to prove that he was no Beast, they were satisfy’d both upon the whole Matter, that though he seem’d to be both, he was yet in Truth neither the one nor the other.
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.