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

46. AN AX AND A FOREST (Perry 302)

A Carpenter that had got the iron Work of an Ax already, went to the next Forest to beg only so much Wood as would make a Handle to’t. The Matter seem’d so small, that the Request was easily granted; but when the timber Trees came to find that the whole Wood was to be cut down by the Help of this Handle; There’s no Remedy, they cry’d, but Patience, when People are undone by their own Folly.
THE MORAL OF THE FOUR FABLES ABOVE. Nothing goes nearer a Man in his Misfortunes, than to find himself undone by his own folly, or but any way accessary to his own Ruin.

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.