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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

4.5. Of the panthere and of the vylayns
(Perry 494)

Every one ought to do wel to the straunger and forgyue to the myserable / As reherceth this fable of a panthere whiche fylle in to a pytte / And when the vylayns or chorles of the countrey sawe her / somme of them beganne to smyte on her / and the other sayd pardonne and forgyue her / for she hath hurted no body / and other were that gaf to her breed / And another sayd to the vylayns / beware ye wel that ye slee her not / And by cause that they were al of dyuerse wyll / euerychone of them wente and retorned home ageyne wenynge that she shold deye within the sayd pytte / but lytyl and lytyl she clymmed vp / and wente to her hows ageyne / and made her to be wel medecyned / in so moche / that soone she was al hole / And within a whyle after she hauynge in her memorye the grete Iniurye that had be done to her came ageyne to the place where she had be hurte and sore bete / & began to kylle & slee al the bestes whiche were there about & put al the sheepherds and swyneherds & other whiche kepte beestes all to flyght / she brente the Corne / & many other euyl and grete harme she dyd there aboute / And whanne the folke of the countrey sawe the grete dommage that she dyd to them / they came toward her / prayenge that she wold haue pyte on them / And to them she ansuerd in this manere / I am not come hyther to take vengeaunce on them whiche haue had pyte and myserycorde of me / but only on them that wold haue slayne me /
And for the wycked and euylle folk I recyte this fable / to thende that they hurte no body / For yf alle the vylaynes hadde hadde pyte / the one as the other of the poure panthere or serpent whiche was straunger and myserable / as moche as she was fallen in to the pytte / the forsayd euylle and dommage had not come to them

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.