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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

6.3. Of the foxe and of the gote
(Perry 9)

He whiche is wyse and sage ought fyrst to loke and behold the ende / or he begynneth the werke or dede / as hyer appiereth by this fable / Of a Foxe & of a gote / that somtyme descended and wente doune in to a depe welle / for to drynke And whanne they had wel dronke / by cause that thei coude not come vpward ageyne / the Foxe sayd to the gote in this maner / my frend yf thow wylt helpe me / we shall sone ben bothe oute of this welle / For yf thow wylt sette thy two feet ageynste the walle / I shal wel lepe vpon the / & vpon thy hornes And thenne I shal lepe oute of this welle / And whanne I shalle be oute of hit / thow shalt take me by the handes / and I shal plucke and drawe the oute of the welle / And at this request the gote / acorded and ansuerd / I wylle wel / And thenne the gote lyfte vp his feet ageynst the walle / and the foxe dyd so moche by his malyce that he gat out of the welle / And whan he was oute / he began to loke on the gote / whiche was within the welle / & thenne the gote sayd to hym / help me now as thou hast promysed / And thenne the foxe beganne to lawhe and to scorne hym / and sayd to hym / O mayster goote / yf thow haddest be wel wyse with thy fayre berde / or euer thow haddest entryd in to the welle / thow sholdest fyrst haue taken hede / how thow sholdest haue comen oute of hit ageyne /
And therfore he wiche is wyse / yf he wysely wylle gouerne hym self / ought to take euer good hede to the ende of his werke


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.