Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)
9. A COUNTRYMAN AND A SNAKE (Perry
A Countryman happn’d in a hard Winter to spy a Snake under a Hedge, that
was half frozen to Death. The Man was good-natur’d, and took it up, and
kept it in his Bosom, till Warmth brought it to Life again; and so soon
as ever it was in condition to do mischief, it bit the very Man that sav’d
the Life on’t. Ah thou ungrateful Wretch! Says he, Is that venomous Ill-Nature
of thine to be satisfy’d with nothing less that the Ruin of thy Preserver?
THE MORAL There are some Men like some Snakes; ‘Tis natural to them
to be doing mischief; and the greater the Benefit on the one side, the
more implacable the Malice on the other.
L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a
very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir
Roger L'Estrange. Aesop
- Fables which is available at amazon.com.