<< Home Page | Caxton Index

Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

1.17. Of the asse and of the yong dogge
(Perry 91)

None ought to entermete hym of that what he can not do wherof Esope recyted suche a fable / Of an asse whiche was in the hows of a lord / whiche lord had a lytyll dogge / whiche he loued wel / and gaf hym mete and ete vpon his table / And the lytyll dogge lyked and chered / and lepte vpon his gowne / And to alle them that were in the hows he made chere / wherfor the asse was enuyous and sayd in hym self / yf my lord and his meyny loue this myschaunt beste by cause that he chereth and maketh feste to euery body / by gretter reason they ought to loue me yf I make chere to them / Thenne sayd he in hym self / Fro hensforth I shalle take my disporte and shalle make Ioye and playe with my lord / and wyth his meyny / And ones as the asse was in this thoughte and ymagynacion / hit happed that he sawe his lord whiche entryd in to his hows / the asse beganne thenne to daunse and to make feest and songe with his swete voys / and approched hym self toward his lord & went & lepte vpon his shoulders / and beganne to kysse and to lykke hym / The lord thenne beganne to crye oute with a hyghe voys and sayd / lete this fowl and payllard / whiche hurteth and byteth me sore / be bete and putt awey / The lordes seruauntes thenne toke anone grete staues / and beganne to smyte vpon the poure asse / and so sore corryged and bete hym / that after he had no luste ne courage to daunse / ne make to none chere ne feste /
And therfore none ought to entermete hym self for to doo a thynge / whiche as for hym impossyble is to be done / For the vnwyse displeseth there / where as he supposeth to please

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.