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Abstemius's Fables (Sir Roger L'Estrange)

337. (Abstemius 85) A Man had a mind to try his Friends.

There was a generous Rich Man, that kept a Splendid and an Open Table, and consequently never wanted Guests. This Person found all People came to him promiscuously, and a Curiosity took him in the Head to try which of them were Friends, and which only Trencher-Flies and Spungers. So he took an occasion one Day, at a Full Table, to tell them of a Quarrel he had, and that he was just then going to demand Satisfaction. There must be so many to so many, and he made no doubt, but they'd stand by him with their Swords in their Hands. they all excus'd themselves save only Two; which Two he reckon'd upon as his Friends, and all the rest no better than Hangers-on.
We may talk of many Friends; but not One Man of a Thousand will stand the Test.


Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists: Abstemius's Fables by Sir Roger L'Estrange. Available online at Google Books.