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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

2.18. Of the wulf / of the foxe / and of the ape
(Perry 474)

He that ones falleth in to somme euylle faytte or dede / he shalle euer lyue with dishonur and in suspecion / of the people / And how be it that by aduenture he purposed to doo somme prouffitable thynge to somme other / yet he shold not be trusted ne byleued / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a wulf / whiche maade the foxe to be cyted beofre the Ape / And the wulf sayd that the foxe was but a theef and a payllart and a knaue of poure folke / And the foxe sayd that he lyed / and that he was a good and trewe man / And that he dyde moche good / And thenne the ape whiche was sette as a Iuge / gaf suche a sentence / And sayd thus to the wulf / Come hyther / thow hast not loste alle that whiche thow demaundest / And thow Foxe I byleue wel that thow hast vsurped and robbed som thynge / how be it / that thow denyest hit in Iustyce / But for as moche that pees may be bytwixe yow bothe / ye shall parte to gyder your good / to thende / that none of yow haue no hole parte / For he that is wonte and acustomed to robbe and gnawe / with grete payne he may absteyne hym self fro hit / For a begyler wylle euer begyle other / And by cause that the ape felte them bothe gylty and suspycious made theyr dyfference to be acorded / and parted half by half /
For they that ben customed to doo ony frawde or falshede / shall euer lyue ryghte heuyly and in suspycion

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.