<< Home Page | L'Estrange Index

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


There was a Time when the Sheep were so hardy as to wage War with the Wolves: and so long as they had the Dogs for their Allies, they were upon all Encounters, at least a Match for their Enemies. Upon this Consideration, the Wolves sent their Embassadors to the Sheep, to treat about a Peace, and in the mean Time there were Hostages given on both sides; the Dogs on the Part of the Sheep, and the Wolves Whelps on the other Part, till the Matters might be brought to an Issue. While they were upon Treaty, the Whelps fell a howling; the Wolves cry’d out Treason; and pretending an Infraction in the Abuse of their Hostages, fell upon the Sheep immediately without their Dogs, and made them pay for the Improvidence of leaving themselves without a Guard.
THE MORAL. ‘Tis Senseless in the highest Degree, to think of establishing an Alliance among those that Nature herself has divided by an irreconcilable Disagreement. Beside that a foolish Peace is much more destructive than a bloody War.

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.