<< Home Page | Oxford (Gibbs) Index

Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 19 (Chambry 31 *)

A fox climbing up over a fence was about to slip and fall, so she reached out and grabbed hold of a bramble bush but the brambles scratched the soft padding of the fox's paws. Stung by the sharp pain, the fox asked the bramble bush why she had acted so cruelly, when the fox had simply grabbed onto her for help. The bramble replied, 'My dear, you must be out of your mind to grab hold of someone like me, since I am the one who always grabs everyone else!'
The same is true about people: it is foolish to expect help from someone who is naturally unkind.

Note: In Caxton (6.5), the bramble bush makes a further criticism of the fox's behaviour: 'For thow supposest to haue taken me as thow arte custommed to take chekyns and hennes.' For an explanation of why the bramble bush grabs every passer-by, see Fable 500.

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.