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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

3.7. Of the herte and of the hunter
(Perry 74)

Men preysen somtyme that / that shold be blamed & vitupered / And ofte men blamen & vytuperen that / that shold be preysyd / as reciteth to vs this fable of a herte / To whome it happyd on a tyme that he drank in a fontayn or welle as he dranke / he sawe in the water his hede which was horned / wherfore he preysed moche his hornes / And as he loked on his legges / whiche were lene and smal / he dispreysed and vytupered them / And as he was drynkynge in the fontayne he herd the voys and barkynge of dogges / wherfore he wold haue fledde awey in to the forest for to saue hym self / but as he sawe the dogges so nyghe hym he wold haue entrid within a busshe / but he myght not / for his hornes kepte hym withoute / And thenne seyng that he myght not escape began to saye within hym self / I haue blamed & vytupered my legges / whiche haue ben to me vtyle and prouffitable / And haue preysed my hornes / whiche ben now cause of my dethe /
And therfore men ought to disprayse that thynge / whiche is vnprouffitable / and preyse that whiche is vtyle and prouffitable / And they ought to preyse and loue the chirche and the commaundements of the same / the whiche ben moche vtyle & prouffytable / And dispreyse and flee al synne and vyce / whiche ben inutyle harmeful and dommageable

Caxton published his edition of Aesop's fables in 1484. There are modern reprints by Joseph Jacobs (D. Nutt: London, 1889) and more recently by Robert Lenaghan (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1967). Lenaghan's edition is available at amazon.com.