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

44. A STAG DRINKING (Perry 74)

As a Stag was drinking upon the Bank of a clear Stream, he saw his Image in the Water, and enter’d into this Contemplation upon’t. Well! Says he, if these pitiful Shanks of mine were but answerable to this branching Head, I can’t but think how I should defy all my Enemies. The Words were hardly out of his Mouth, but he discover’d a pack of Dogs coming full Cry towards him. Away he scours cross the Fields, casts off the Dogs, and gains a Wood; but pressing thro’ a Thicket, the Bushes held him by the Hors, till the Hounds came in and pluck’d him down. The last thing he said was this. What an unhappy Fool was I, to take my Friends for my Enemies, and my Enemies for my Friends! I trusted to my Head, that has betray’d me; and I found fault with my Legs, that would have otherwise brought me off.
THE MORAL. He that does not throughly know himself, may be well allowed to make a false Judgement upon other Matters that most nearly concern him.

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.