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

69. A FARMER AND HIS DOGS (Perry 52)

A certain Farmer was put to such a pinch in a hard Winter for Provisions, that he was forc’d to feed himself and his Family upon the main Stock. The Sheep went first to pot; the Goats next; and after them the Oxen, and all little enough to keep Life and Soul together. The Dogs call’d a Council upon’t, and resolv’d to shew their Master a fair pair of Heels for’t, before it came to be their turn; for, (said they) after he has cut the Throats of our Fellow-Servants, that are so necessary for his Business, it cannot be expected that he will ever spare us.
THE MORAL. There’s no contending with Necessity, and we should be very tender how to censure those that submit to’t. ‘Tis one thing to be at liberty to do what we would do, and another thing to be ty’d up to do what we must.

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.