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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

5.12. Of the wulf and of the hongry dogge /
(Perry 701)

Svche supposen somtyme to wynne that lesen / As hit appiereth by this Fable / For hit is sayd comunly / that as moche dispendeth the nygard as the large / As hit appiereth by this Fable of a man whiche had a grete herd of sheep / And also he had a dogge for to kepe them fro the wulues / To this dogge he gaf no mete / for the grete auaryce whiche held hym / And therfore the wulf on a daye came to the dogge / and demaunded of hym the rayson / why he was soo lene / and sayd to hym / I see wel that thow dyest for honger / by cause that thy mayster gyueth to the no mete / by his grete scarcyte / but yf thow wylt byleue me I shalle gyue to the good counceylle / And the dogge sayd to hym / Certaynly I myster gretely of good counceylle / Thenne the wulf sayd to hym / This shalt thow doo / Lete me take a lambe / And whanne I shalle haue hit I shalle renne awey / And whanne thow shalt see me renne / make thenne semblaunt to renne after me / and lete thy self falle faynynge that thow canst not ouertake me / for lack and fawte of mete / which maketh the so feble / And thus whanne the sheepherd shalle see that thow mayst not haue the lambe fro me by cause of the grete feblenesse and debylyte of thy lene body / he shall telle to thy lord that thow myghtest not socoure the lambe / by cause that thow arte so sore ahongryd / and by this meane thow shalt haue mete thy bely ful / The dogge thenne acorded this with the wulf / and eche of them made and dyde as aboue is sayd / And whanne the sheepherd sawe the dogge falle / supposed wel /that honger was cause of it For the whiche cause whanne one of the sheepherdes came home he told hit to his mayster / And whan the mayster vnderstood hit / he seyd as a man wroth for shame / I wylle that fro hensforthon he haue breed ynough / And thenne euery daye the sayd dogge hadde soppes of brede / and of drye breed he hadde ynough / Thenne the dogge toke strengthe / and vygour ageyne / It happed within a lytyl whyle after / that the wulf came ageyne to the dogge / and sayd to hym / I perceyue wel / that I gaf to the good counceylle / And the dogge sayd to the wulf / My broder thow sayst soothe / wherfore I thanke the moche / For of hit I hadde grete nede / And thenne the wulf sayd to hym / Yf thow wylt I shall gyue to the yet better counceylle / And the dogge ansuerd hym with ryght a good wylle I shalle here hit / And yf hit be good I shalle doo after hit / Thenne sayd the wulf to hym Lete me take yet another lambe / and doo thy dylygence for to haue hit fro me / and to byte me / and I shalle ouerthrowe the thy feet vpward / as he that hath no puyssaunce ne strength withoute hurtynge of thy self / byleue me hardyly / and wel hit shalle happe to the / And whanne thy maysters seruaunts shalle haue sene thy dylygence / they shalle shewe hit to thy mayster how that thow shalt kepe full wel his folde / yf thou be wel nourysshed / And thenne the dogge ansuerd to the wulf that he was contente / And as hit was sayd / ryght so hit was done / and bothe of them maad good dylygence The wulf bare aweye the lambe / and the dogge ranne after hym / and ouertook hym / & bote hym fayntly / And the wulf ouerthrewe the dogge vpsodoune to the ground / And whan the sheepherdes sawe gyue suche strokes amonge the dogge & the wulf / sayd Certaynly we haue a good dogge / we muste telle his dylygence to our mayster / and soo they dyd / & how he bote the wulf / and how he was ouerthrowen / and yet sayd Certaynly yf he hadde hadde euer mete ynough / the wulf had not borne awey the lambe / Thenne the lord commaunded to gyue hym plente of mete / wherof the dogge took ageyne al strengthe and vertue / And within a whyle after the wulf came ageyne to the dogge / and sayd to hym in this manere / My broder haue I not gyuen to the good counceylle / And thenne the dogge ansuerd to hym / Certaynly ye / wherof I thanke yow / And the wulf sayd to the dogge / I praye the my broder and my good frend that thow wylt yet gyue another lambe / and the dogge sayd to hym / Certaynly my broder / wel hit maye suffyse the to haue had tweyne of them / Thenne sayd the wulf to the dogge / At the lest waye I maye haue one for my laboure and sallarye / That shalt thow not haue sayd the dogge / Hast thow not hadde good sallarye for to haue hadde two lambes oute of my maysters herd / And the wulf ansuerd to hym ageyne / My brother gyue hit me yf hit please the / And after sayd the dogge to hym / Nay I wylle not / And yf thow takest hit ageynste my wylle / I promytte and warne the / that neuer after this tyme thow shalt ete none / And thenne the wulf sayd to hym / Allas my broder I deye for honger / Counceylle me for goddys loue what I shalle doo / And the dogge sayd to hym / I shal counceylle the wel a walle of my maysters celer is fallen doune / go thyder this nyght and entre in hit / and there thow mayst both ete and drynke after thy playsyr / For bothe breed flesshe and wyn shalt thow fynde at plente there within / And thenne the wulf sayd to hym / Allas my broder / beware wel thenne / that thow accuse ne deceyue me not / And the dogge ansuerd / I waraunt the / but doo thy faytte so pryuely / that none of my felawes knowe not of hit / And the wulf came at the nyght / and entryd in to the celer / and / ete and dranke of his playsyre / In so moche that he wexed dronke / And whanne he hadde dronke so moche / that he was dronke / He sayd to hym self / whanne the vylaynes ben fylled wyth metes / and that they ben dronke / they synge theyr songes / and I wherefore shold I not synge / And thenne he beganne to crye and to howle / And the dogges herd the voys of hym wherfore they beganne to barke and to howle / And the seruaunts whiche herd them sayd / It is the wulf / whiche is entryd within the celer / And thenne they al to gyder wenten thyder / and kylled the wulf /
And therfore more dispendeth the nygard than the large / For auaryce was neuer good / For many one ben whiche dare not ete ne drynke as nature requyreth / But neuertheles euery one oughte to vse and lyue prudently of alle suche goodes as god sendeth to hym / This fable also sheweth to vs / that none ought to do ageynste his kynde / as of the wulf whiche wexed dronke / for the whiche cause he was slayne


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.