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


There was once a Brood of young Larks in the Corn, and the Dam, when she went abroad to forage for them, laid a strict Charge upon her little ones, to pick up what News they could get against she came back again. They told her at her Return, that the Owner of the Field had been there, and order’d his Neighbors to come and reap the Corn. Well, says the Old One, there’s no Danger yet then. They told her the next Day that he had been there again, and desir’d his Friends to do’t. Well, well, says she, there’s no hurt in that neither: and so she went out progging for Provisions as before. But upon the third Day, when they told their Mother, that the Master and his Son appointed to come next Morning, and do’t themselves. Nay then, says she, ‘tis time to look about us: As for Neighbors and Friends, I fear ‘em not; but the Master I’m sure will be as good as his Word, for ‘tis his own Business.
THE MORAL OF THE TWO FABLES ABOVE. He that would be sure to have his Business well done, must either do it himself, or see the doing of it; beside that many a good Servant is spoil’d by a careless Master.

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.