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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

1.13. Of the Egle and of the foxe
(Perry 1)

How the puyssaunt & myghty must doubte the feble Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Ther was an Egle whiche came ther as yong foxes were / and took awey one of them / and gaf hit to his yonge egles to fede them with The foxe wente after hym & praid hym to restore and gyue hym ageyne his yong foxe / And the Egle sayd that he wold not / For he was ouer hym lord and maister / And thenne the foxe fulle of shrewdnes and of malyce beganne to put to gyder grete habondaunce of strawe round aboute the tree / where vpon the egle and his yonge were in theyr nest / and kyndeled it with fyre / And whan the smoke and the flambe began to ryse vpward / the Egle ferdfulle and doubtyng the dethe of her lytylle egles restored ageyne the yonge foxe to his moder
This fable sheweth vs / how the myghty men oughte not to lette in ony thynge the smale folke / For the lytyll ryght ofte may lette and trouble the grete

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.