<< Home Page | Caxton Index

Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

Avyan 23. Of the oxe and of the rat
(Perry 353)

The lordes ought to loue theyr subgettis / For he whiche is hated of his tenaunts and subgets / is not lord of his land / as hit appereth by this Fable / Of an oxe / whiche somtyme was within a stable / and as the oxe on a tyme wold haue slepte fayne / a rat came / whiche bote the oxe by the thyes / And as the oxe wold haue smyten hym / he ran awaye in to his hole / And thenne the oxe beganne to menace the rat / And the ratte sayd to hym / I am not aferd of the For al be hit that I am lytyl / I may lette and empeche the / And yf thow arte grete / thy parentes ben cause therof and not thy self /
And therfore the stronge ought not to dyspreyse the feble / but ought to loue hym as the chyef or hede ought to loue his lymmes / For he that loueth not / oughte not to be loued / And therfore the lord must loue his subgettys / yf of them he wylle be loued

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.