Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)
86. AN IMPOSTOR TO THE ORACLE (Perry
There was a certain bantering Droll that took a Journey to Delphos, a
purpose to try if he could put a Trick upon Apollo. He carry'd a Sparrow
in his Hand under his Coat, and told the God, I have something in my Hand,
says he, Is it dead or living? If the Oracle should say 'twas dead, he
could shew it alive; if living, 'twas but squeezing it, and then 'twas
dead. He that saw the Malice of his Heart, gave him this Answer: It shall
e'en be which of the two you please; for 'tis in your Choice to have it
either the one or the other.
THE MORAL. Presumption leads People to Infidelity in a trice, and so
by insensible Degrees to Atheism: For when Men have once cast off a Reverence
for Religion, they are come within one Step of laughing at it.
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.