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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

4.12. Of the foxe / and of the lyon
(Perry 142)

Fayre doctryne taketh he in hym self / that chastyseth hym by the perylle of other / As to vs reherceth this present fable / Of a lyon whiche somtyme faygned hym self seke / And whanne the beestes knewe that the lyon was seke / they wold goo alle to vysyte and see hym as theyre kynge / And Incontynent as the beestes entryd in to his hows for to see and comforte hym / he deuoured and ete them / And whan the foxes were come to the yate for to haue vysyted the lyon / they knewe wel the fallace and falshede of the lyon and salewed hym at the entre of the yate / And entryd not within / And whan the lyon sawe that they wold not entre in to his hows / he demaunded of them / why they wold not come within / And one of the foxes sayd to hym / we knowe wel by thy traces / that alle the beestes whiche haue entryd in to thy hows came not oute ageyne / And also yf we entryd within / nomore shold we come ageyne /
And therfore he is wel happy that taketh ensample by the dommage of other / For to entre in to the hows of a grete lord / it is wel facyle but for to come oute of hit ageyne it is moche dyffycyle /

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.