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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

6.2. Of the egle and of the wesel
(Perry 3)

None for what so euer myght that he haue / ought not to dispreyse the other / As hit appiereth by this present fable of an Egle / whiche chaced somtyme after an hare And by cause that the hare myght not resyste ne withstande ageynst the egle / he demaunded ayde and helpe of the wesel / the whiche tooke hym in her kepynge / And by cause that the egle sawe the wesel soo lytyl / he dispreysed her / and before her toke the hare / wherof the wesel was wrothe / And therfore the wesell wente / and beheld the Egles nest whiche was vpon a hyghe tree / And whanne she sawe hit / the lytell wesell clymmed vpon a tree and took and cast doune to the ground the yong egles wherfore they deyde / And for this cause was the Egle moche wrothe and angry / and after wente to the god Iupiter And prayd hym that he wold fynde hym a sure place where as he myght leye his egges and his lytyl chykyns / And Iupiter graunted it / and gaf hym suche a gyfte / that whan the tyme of childynge shold come / that she shold make her yong Egles within his bosome / And thenne whanne the wesel knewe this / she gadred and assembled to gyder grete quantite of ordure or fylthe / and therof made an hyghe hylle for to lete her self falle fro the top of hit in to the bosome of Iupiter / And whanne Iupyter felte the stenche of the fylthe / he beganne to shake his bosome / and both the wesel and the egges of the egle felle doune to the erthe / And thus were alle the egges broken and lost / And whanne the Egel knewe hit / she made auowe / that she shold neuer make none egles / tyll of the wesel she were assured /
And therfore none how stronge and myghty that he be / ought not to dispreyse somme other / For there is none soo lytyl / but that somtyme he may lette and auenge hym self / wherfore doo thow no displaysyr to none / that displaysyre come not to the


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.