Abstemius's Fables (Sir Roger L'Estrange)
308. (Abstemius 58) A Wicked Man and the Devil.
A Notorious Malefactor, that had committed I know not how many Villanies, and run thro' the Discipline of as many Gaols, made a Friend of the Devil, to help him out in all his Distresses. This Friend of his brought him off many and many a time, and still he was taken up, again and again, he had his Recourse over and over, to the same Devil for Succour. But upon his Last Summons, the Devil came to him with a great Bag of Old Shoes at his Back, and told him plainly; Friend (says he) I'm at the End of my Line, and can help ye no longer. I have beat the Hoof till I have worn out all these Shoes in your Service, and not One Penny left me to buy more: So that you must e'en excuse me if I drop ye here.
The Devil helps his Servants for a Season; but when they come once to a Pinch, he leaves 'em in the lurch.
Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists: Abstemius's Fables by Sir Roger L'Estrange. Available online at Google Books.