<< Home Page | Caxton Index

Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

6.1. Of the Egle and of the rauen
(Perry 2)

None ought to take on hym self to doo a thynge / whiche is peryllous withoute he fele hym self strong ynough to doo hit / As reherceth this Fable / Of an Egle / whiche fleynge took a lambe / wherof the Rauen hadde grete enuye wherfor vpon another tyme as the sayd rauen sawe a grete herd of sheep / by his grete enuy & pryde & by his grete oultrage descended on them / and by suche fachon and manere smote a wether that his clowes abode to the flyes of hit / In soo moche that he coude not flee awey / The sheepherd thenne came and brake and toke his wynges from hym / And after bare hym to his children to playe them with / And demaunded of hym / what byrd he was / And the Rauen ansuerd to hym / I suppose to haue ben an Egle / And by my ouerwenynge I wende to haue take a lambe / as the egle dyd / but now I knowe wel that I am a Rauen /
wherfore the feble ought not in no wyse to compare hym self to the stronge / For somtyme when he supposeth to doo more than he may / he falleth in to grete dishonour / as hit appiereth by this present Fable / Of a Rauen / whiche supposed to haue ben as stronge as the egle


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.